I am grateful to Anni for reminding me of the symbolism of the sprinkling of "dust" over the coffin. I had interpreted it simply as an "inclusive" act, to be part of the burial.
This phrase, or variants of it appear in the funeral service of the Anglican Church (in the "Book of Common Prayer") and the Catholic funeral liturgy. Anni informed me that this little ritual is a traditional inclusion in the Lutheran funeral service as well. We are dealing with traditions here which are deeply buried in our European culture. (Sorry about the pun!)
The phrase: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (or variants of it) is also a familiar expression which is used in the Ash Wednesday service.
What a bleak world view we have inherited! No wonder we try to make the best we can of these rituals.
This week's experience was the "real world" view of a Requiem. Perhaps next week, I shall turn up the volume and give Mozart and Berlioz a work out.
PS: I nearly posted a link to several useful reference sites, but I feel uneasy about promoting any religious site on this blog. If you wish to find out more, test your favourite Search Engine.