Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the eighteenth of a number of funeral templates written such that you can conduct a meaningful service. It has, at its center, a crucial element – that of a eulogy. A eulogy cannot be a template. It must come from the heart. If you cannot compose a eulogy The Eulogy Writers exists to help.
A LIFE LIVED WELL #18
CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to be born and a time to die.
Prayer: Eternal and loving God, giver of life and hope and peace: We thank you today for a life well lived. We thank you for the life of _____ _____ and for all he/she brought to our world. We thank you for his/her relationships, for his/her talents, for his/her energy, for his/her love, and for the example he/she set for every life he/she touched along the way. It gives us pause, O Lord, when we face the death of someone so close. It seems almost impossible to think that he/she is gone now. But even in this hour, when we recognize his/her death, we so clearly remember and cherish his/her life… Give us the assurance of your presence as we remember and as we grieve and then, as time passes, as we heal. Let his/her life, who touched ours so profoundly, be honored this day and always held dear in our hearts. Amen.
SCRIPTURES Psalm 39:4-7 Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. [think of that] Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. (NIV)
Psalm 144:3-4 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 5:1-9 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling... For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight…So we make it our goal to please [God.] (NIV)
2 Peter 3:8-14 – …do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. …what kind of people, then, ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming… (NIV)
MEDITATION There is such a thing as a “life well lived.” It may look different to different people – depending on their perspective and on their value system, but what it always means is that a person has gone through life accomplishing certain things. Those things may not necessarily be huge accomplishments in terms of science or industry or even in humanitarian terms, but almost always in terms of relationships – that people truly loved him/her and he/she truly loved them. The “life well lived” is an impact on other individuals in the world and not necessarily on the world as a whole… Life is often deceptive in the course of living it. We get so wrapped up in the day to day activities and busyness of our lives that it is easy to lose sight of what it is we are on this earth for. We begin to believe that the work we do somehow matters and that if we accomplish, our lives will be successful. There is the illusion that “doing” things is what life is all about… But the fact of the matter is, little we can do in this world makes much difference. Old King Solomon, in the Bible, said to be the wisest of men – a man with all the wealth and accomplishment you could imagine – knew this to be true… The truth of the matter is that, when we die, our work will be continued and improved upon by others and all the time and energy we spent – all the life-energy we poured into it – will very soon be forgotten. We may get a little recognition in the “minutes” of our company newsletter, we might even have a plaque with our name on it hung in a prominent place in the office – for hundreds of people to pass by and ignore. If we’ve been in the “right” profession, we might even get into the history books or into some hall of fame…but soon forgotten nonetheless – known only to fans or school children making reports or reading of times gone by… But the “life well lived” has to do with relationships. It has to do with nothing that can be touched, tasted, felt, or seen. The “life well lived” is one that has gotten out beyond itself and has touched the lives of others – and touched them in a powerful and wonderful enough way that their love and compassion and goodness are passed down to generation after generation – even so far that those touched don’t remember their name, but know that way back when, someone was a truly good person and because of them, THEIR life is better.
In our home we have a wall full of pictures of grandparents and great grandparents for as far back as we were able to find photos. Every day, as I walk past them, I realize they are looking at me. They were good people – I don’t know many of their names – not even many of the stories about them – but I know I came from them. I know the kind of people they were. I know they were good, honest, hard working, God-fearing people… And I know that because they lived life well, the essence of who they were was passed on to their children and to their children and ultimately to me and to my children. I am who I am – and I got there because of those who came before me – and, in knowing that, I am inspired to live life well, too… and then, because of them, their lives are passed on to my children and eventually to their children and to unseen generations…
The scriptures teach that the ideals and qualities and the goodness – even the sins and weaknesses – of one generation – are passed on to a third and even a fourth generation. If you are old enough, you can observe that over and over again in families you know. Our lives are never lived in a vacuum. We invariably touch one another in profound ways _________ lived a life lived well. He/she was a man/woman of quality in every way. His/her influence you can clearly see in your own lives already, perhaps, and in the lives of his/her loved ones…
[Write a eulogy and insert it here]
The greatest aspect of living life well, I believe, is to live a life of faith. We were put on this earth, according the ancients, to take care of God’s creation and to enjoy and be enjoyed by God always. When we talk in terms of inherited “goodness,” it is impossible to forget that, whatever our physical ancestors passed on to us, God, through Jesus Christ, and people of faith throughout the centuries, have passed on to us a faith that has its cornerstone in love and graciousness and forgiveness and healing and compassion and… godliness. THAT is what you want to pass on to the next generation that their lives will be lived well too… And as a minister of the gospel, I am convinced that the best of life can only be passed on as we pass on a heritage of faith. ______ has touched your lives and the lives of others for __ years. The impact of this dear man/woman will go on for generations yet unborn – in you – through you – beyond you – and ultimately to the very throne of God. His/her goodness becomes your goodness. His/her life, now passed from the earth, lives on in very certain ways in you and most certainly into eternity.
So today latch on to what _______ has left you with. He/she left you with a heritage of goodness and gentleness and kindness [and faith]. Remember those things, amplify them in your own lives, and his/her life “well lived” will assure that your own will be too.
ENDING SCRIPTURES Isaiah 43:2-7 Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, [whole] peoples in exchange for your life. Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made [I will be with him]. (NIV)
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of [humanity], who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Encourage each other with these words.” (NIV)
Then words of great hope: Revelation 7:16-17 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (NIV)
Add 23rd Psalm if not going to cemetery The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and [then] I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NIV)
PRAYER God of the universe: Hear our prayer for courage at this time of loss and sorrow.
Grant us your peace in this time of turmoil in our hearts and spirits. Grant us the true knowledge that a life lived well is the wonderful prelude to a death died well, ushering in eternal life. We do, truly, thank you for the life of ______. His/her life was one that you looked down on and loved and so we now entrust him/her to you forever. As we have, in his earthly lifetime, enjoyed him/her, now we give him/her into your care. Watch over him/her and give him/her all your love.
If not going to cemetery, add: …Now forasmuch as the spirit has departed the body, we do now commit the body of _______ to its final resting place in the earth, as it was in the beginning: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust… But the spirit, which is the true person, we commit into the care of Almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, in whom is the hope of everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.] Amen.
BENEDICTION May the Lord of all peace bring you the peace you need this day. May His presence be powerful as you grieve and as you heal. Amen.
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