Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the sixteenth 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 Special Honor From God #16 For this meditation a “year you were born” website search is useful. Try: http://www.infoplease.com/yearbyyear.html
CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; I Corinthians 2:9. – “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 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;...” “…as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (NIV)
INVOCATION Lord, we come before you today bringing you thanks for the long and good life of ______ _____. You have given him/her many years to live and work in your world – to bring his/her offering to others you have made. We thank you for his/her work, for his/her gentleness, for his/her love. As you have given him/her to our world for these “few” years, we give him/her back into your care today for eternity. As we remember and honor him/her, give us your peace and blessing...in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
SCRIPTUREPsalm 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. Selah [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 [very] hope is in you.” (NIV)
I 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 men, 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. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (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, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 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. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” (NIV)
MEDITATIONIt is a special honor from God when a person is granted as many years as ______. ____ years... Oh, the things a person in our world experiences and the changes they see in that long of a time. When _______ was born there were no airplanes in the sky. They were invented just a few years before, and there was, at that point, no practical way they could be used for transportation. Yet he/she saw man land on the moon... Men like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford came into the spotlight and revolutionized the world with electricity and automobiles. He/she saw those when they were novelties – for the wealthy only… The word “computer” hadn't even been invented and now they are practically running the world... Massive changes in those ____ years of his/her life.... _______ saw more changes in his/her lifetime than any comparable lifetime in the history of the world.... [Insert here events of the decade of his/her birth]
And yet, even in the midst of tremendous changes, there are some things that forever stay the same. _______ saw the laughter of children and the beauty of nature. He/she felt the warmth of the sunshine and enjoyed the love and fellowship of friends. He/she marveled at the miracle of new birth and at the wonders of creation…
Now all of that is in the past. _______'s earthly life is over and he/she begins another great adventure in God's kingdom. Exactly what it holds is a mystery to all who go but that is true of every journey any of us take, isn’t it? But the journey ultimately promises all good things and will make this one seem dreary by comparison...
What we commemorate in this hour is the beauty ______ brought into our world – into his/her world – into your world. I hope that today each of you will remember – reflecting on all the wonderful times you had with ______. Remember the conversations you had together. Remember some of his/her peculiar ways – sometimes funny, sometimes sad – but always just wonderful. Remember his/her gentle ways and the sparkle in his/her eyes. Remember the stories he/she could tell of the past... Of growing up. Of hardships. Of the little pleasures of living is such amazing era. Those things are the inheritance he/she leaves behind to each one who knew him/her... Cherish those things that even his/her earthly life might go on...
The Bible teaches – and Jesus demonstrated – that death is not final. It is the gateway to something more permanent and real than any of us have ever experienced. The grave is not to be feared but to be found awe inspiring. It is the beginning of the sequel to ones life. This one will contain none of the struggle and suffering and confusion and pain of the first one. ...
The famous statesman, Benjamin Franklin died back in 1790. He wrote an epitaph for his own monument before he died. It reads like this, “The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author.”
So it is for ______. The book is ended...but the story has just begun.... He/she has come to the sunset of life. Each sunset in our world is, somewhere else, a sunrise – not later, not at some future time, but at the same instant. For us, in this world, ______ has passed into the sunset. But, in that other world, he/she emerges from the rays of a magnificent sunrise. And, when that happens, all of our doubts and sadnesses will become instantly the joy and wonder of a new day.
Here are some assurances that the Bible has given to many over the centuries...
ENDING SCRIPTURES Psalm 43:selections – Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior...Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you...every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made...[I will be with him].” (NIV)
John 11:25, 26 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I believe.” (Jesus would say the same to us today. He would say that He IS the resurrection and the life and that death need not be for all time if we believe – if we trust in Him… Then he would ask us that all important question, just as he asked the woman – “Do you believe this?” And in our response to that question is our hope for eternity.) (NIV)
I Corinthians 15:50-58 – ...what is made of flesh and blood cannot share in God's kingdom, and what is mortal cannot possess immortality. Listen to this secret: we shall not all die, but in an instant we shall all be changed, as quickly as the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds. For when it sounds, the dead will be raised immortal beings, and we shall all be changed. For what is mortal must clothe itself with what is immortal; what will die must clothe itself with what cannot die. So when what is mortal has been clothed with what is immortal, and when what will die has been clothed with what cannot die, then the scripture will come true: 'Death is destroyed; victory is complete!' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where O death, is your sting?'...So then, my dear brothers, stand firm and steady. (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)
ENDING PRAYER Lord, long life is one of your special blessings. Living life well and finishing it with dignity and peace is of our own doing. Today we thank you for the wonderful, long life of _______ ______. You have given him/her so many years, filled with so many experiences and with such a vast array of people. You have given him/her love and warmth and much happiness… And you have blessed us with having known him/her. Just now give us your peace at his/her passing. Give us comfort. Help us to know how very fortunate we have been to have ______ in our lives for these brief years. Hold him/her now forever in your loving and gentle embrace… in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord.
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 And now, may the grace and peace and love of Christ be with you and comfort you and bless you both today and forevermore. Amen.
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