Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the first 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.
The Bridge Over San Luis Rey #1
CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; – 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;....
Psalm 27:1, 14…The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait, I say, for the LORD!” (NIV)
InvocationCreator God: Today we acknowledge that, like grass, we flourish briefly and fade all too soon. This very day we mourn the departure from this earthly life of one who has been known and loved by so many. In spite of our faith in your power and in your love, our sense of loss at ________’s death is real. We seek your comfort today – your healing – your presence… Be with us, we pray, in your power and in your love. In the midst of life and in the face of death, remind us of those things that cannot perish: the love for our loved ones – memories – faith – and, of course, our spirits which you created for eternity. Dry the tears of our eyes, O Lord and give us courage. Amen.
Scripture ReadingsPsalm 46 selections – God is our place of safety. He gives us strength. He is always there to help us in times of trouble. The earth may fall apart. The mountains may fall into the middle of the sea. But we will not be afraid. The waters of the sea may roar and foam. The mountains may shake when the waters rise. But we will not be afraid. The LORD who rules over all is with us. The God of Jacob is like a fort to us… He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (NIRV)
Romans 8:35, 37-39 – Who can separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or hard times or harm or hunger? Can nakedness or danger or war? (NIRV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 15:12-26 – But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise him if, in fact, the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his/her own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all his/her enemies under his/her feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)
Romans 8:18 – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Revelation 7:15-17 – …and He who sits on the throne will spread his/her tent over them. 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)
MEDITATION There is an old novel by Thornton Wilder titled “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” Many of us read it in High School and remember the drama it describes. It is set in Peru out in the jungles. In the first chapter, Wilder paints the picture of a deep ravine spanned by a sturdy rope bridge. Five people are crossing the bridge one day when, suddenly, it collapses and they all fall to their death. But those who died were individual travelers and didn’t know one another. They were strangers from different parts of the world, from different walks of life, from different social positions. The only thing they seemed to have in common was the fact that they died on the same day in the same way – from the collapse of that bridge. But the author assures us that they had much more in common than any of them could have ever imagined. The remainder of the book delves into the lives of each of the five and the reader discovers that, even though they seemed to have nothing in common, each of the five had touched the lives of numerous people in their families and in their friendships in their various cities throughout the world. Those people, as is always the case with anyone we know, were touched and, in some small way, changed and molded by having known them. Then those people – the friends and family members of those individuals who had died, in conversations and interactions with others in small ways, changed others… and the ripples of change through exposure to one another – then they, through touching the lives of still others – and this going on through several levels, eventually overlap and through several degrees of separation, each of those five who died together in a far away and strange land, who seemed to have had nothing in common, had their lives – their influences – actually overlap. So it is with all people. Our lives may seem, at times, to be lived within a small circle of friends and family, but the ripples of influence go out and out and we touch far more people with our lives than we can ever imagine….people we have never met and will never meet… And so it is when someone dies. His/her life has already touched hundreds – perhaps thousands – and even the impact of his/her death makes ripples that go out for a very long time and far away and will for generations yet to come…
We don’t have a key to the secret as to why crisis or sorrow or death strikes a particular family or a specific person. We don’t know the answers to the length of our lives. All we know for certain is that losing someone we have loved is one of the most painful experiences we will ever have.
Jesus, in the famous “Sermon on the Mount” suggests that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow’s food or clothing – that God will take care of these things if we are simply faithful in regard to them. He is in charge. He knows what we need and will see to it that we are cared for… I think this can be expanded upon to suggest that even in the absence of tomorrows on earth – when we see the death of a loved one – we can be assured that that too, is in God’s hands. We don’t understand it. We don’t like it. We wonder ‘why?’ it had to happen. Why now? Why to _____? How will we cope? What happens to life now? This is where our faith comes in. We trust that God has all those answers. We may never know what they are, but can take certain comfort in knowing that they exist…
[Insert Your Eulogy Here]
________’s death saddens each one of us who knew him/her. He/she had so few years in the greater scheme of things. ___ years isn’t really so very long… We wish there had been more. But such was not to be. I don’t know how God determines the length of our lives, but I do know that the scriptures teach that God somehow is able to turn all things into ultimate good. He can take sorrow and turn it into compassion. He can take memories and turn them into resolve. He can take grief and turn it into strength. He can take tears and turn them into a peace that passes all understanding. You will certainly miss __________. But your life has been touched by his/hers and you will go on to touch others and they others and they others…and so, in those natural relationships his/her life will go on – in you – in those you touch – in so many who will never know him/her. Thank God today for his/her love and for his/her life and for the goodness he/she shared with the world. Thank God for his/her smile and his/her stories and his/her willingness to be there when you needed him/her. Remember his/her ways and hi/her opinions and his/her voice. Look at the photos you have of him/her and allow yourself to smile… and to love and appreciate, for as long as you live, what God gave to you in him/her.
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 and sisters, we want you to know what happens to those who die. We don’t want you to be sad, as other people are. They don’t have any hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again. When He returns, many who believe in him will have died already. We believe that God will bring them back with Jesus. That agrees with what the Lord has said. When the Lord comes, many of us will still be alive. We tell you that we will certainly not go up before those who have died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven. We will hear a loud command. We will hear the voice of the leader of the angels. We will hear a blast from God’s trumpet. Many who believe in Christ will have died already. They will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them. We will be taken up in the clouds. We will meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with him forever.(NIRV)
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 Most gracious God, at this time of all times, we need to thank you for the precious gift of life and especially the life of _________ that we have enjoyed for these brief years. And we thank you for hope: We thank you for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus of life eternal. We thank you for the hope we have of seeing _______ again. We even thank you for the grief we experience this day, O Lord. It is the sign of the love which you have implanted in us for ________. And we thank you for the comfort you supply through family and friends in times like these. Give us comfort and healing and peace as only you are able. In the name of 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 Now may the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you His peace. Amen.
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