Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the third 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.
Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime #3 (While useful for the general funeral service, this one was designed with a suicide in mind)
CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; Psalm 27:1; 145:18 “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;....” (NIV) …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? The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
INVOCATION As we gather before you, O Lord, we are impressed with the frailty of life. We confess that we seldom realize how fleeting and transitory our lives are and therefore take your greatest gift for granted. Forgive us this and make us ever more aware that you have given us our years to love and to be loved, to serve and to help and to grow and to encourage others...to live lives filled with the graciousness of Jesus in our world. Today as we pay tribute to _________’s life, give us your strength and bind us together in common love and support. Know the feelings deep within, remind us of the good memories; begin the healing even in this hour. To each heart that is hurting, give peace. To each who is in need of assurance, make yourself known. To any who feel hopeless, give encouragement. Grant your grace now, O Lord, as we commit this loved child of yours into your keeping. Amen.
SCRIPTURE Ecclesiastes 8:6,7 – For every matter has its time and way, although man's trouble lies heavy upon him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him what the future holds?” (NIV)
Psalm 144:3,4 – The Psalm writer asked of God, O Lord, what is man that you take notice of him? Man is but a breath, his/her days are like a passing shadow. (NIV)
Psalm 90:1-6; 17 – Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations [again and again we must turn to you]. Before the mountains were brought forth, or even before you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God....You turn man back to the dust, and say, “Turn back, O children of men!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep men away; they are like a dream, like grass which is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers...Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish, O God, the work of our hands. Yes, establish the work of our hands.” (NIV)
Psalm 27:1 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? One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his/her temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (NIV)
I Corinthians 15:12-26 – -”Now if this is what we proclaim, that Christ was raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there be no resurrection, then Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, then our gospel is null and void, and so is your faith; and we turn out to be lying witnesses for God, because we bore witness that he raised Christ to life...If it is for this life only that Christ has given us hope, we of all men are most to be pitied.... But the truth is, Christ was raised to life – the first fruits of the harvest of the dead. For since it was a man who brought death into the world, a man also brought resurrection of the dead. As in Adam all men die, so in Christ all will be brought to life; but each in his/her own proper place: Christ the first fruits, and afterwards, at his/her coming, those who belong to Christ.....The scriptures say that ‘He has put all things in subjection under [Christ's] feet...’ he is destined to reign until God has put all enemies under his/her feet; and the last enemy to be abolished is death. (NIV)
MEDITATION You have all heard the popular song of a couple of decades ago, “Everybody loves Somebody, Sometime...” Gathered in this room today are those who have loved ________, - at some time. He/she was loved by his/her family, his/her neighbors, his/her friends..., and at least to some degree by everyone who had the opportunity to know him/her. He/she had no real enemies… But above all else, _______ was loved by God, his/her heavenly Father.
The Bible tells time and time again about God’s love. One analogy says God is like a shepherd who has lost a sheep and leaves the whole flock to someone else while he searches until he finds him because of his great concern for that one. Another is about the infamous “Prodigal Son” who broke his fathers heart, took his inheritance early and went out and squandered it. But when the son returned home the Father forgave him immediately and rejoiced that he had returned. And on and on go Jesus' teachings about the great and wonderful love of God that simply never ends. Whether we are a sheep who strays and gets lost or a prodigal who struggles all his or her life to find himself, God continues to love us. God loves his children even if they are unaware of it. He seeks them and puts in their hearts a desire to find Him and together – sometimes for a lifetime – the search for a solid relationship with God goes on.
The late Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa, famous Japanese Christian leader and teacher, used to say our relationship with God was like an unborn baby's relationship with its mother. The child in its mother's womb cannot see its mother's face, or hear her speak in any kind of understandable way. It can only feel the wall of the abdomen. Its world is terribly limited. If the baby could speak, it might say that “there is no mother… I’ve never seen her. I’ve never been contacted by her, I can’t communicate with her,” and all the while it is surrounded by its mother… a mother who does, indeed, know its needs and seek the very best for it in every way… Many people are that way about God. They see the wall – the world all around them, but no one with whom the wall is associated. They can’t see God or hear Him speak. They can’t, they believe, communicate with Him. God doesn’t apparently care what is going on in ‘my’ life… But of course none of that is true. The world is the clothing of God, in which we see His beauty, order, and purpose. God DOES care and know our needs and works to supply our needs… Death, as fearful as it sometimes appears, is like being born. We are born into something quite different than we have ever experienced before – bright lights and noises and coldness and huge creatures we’ve never imagined existed – we enter into life in fear and a cry bursts forth from our lips… but soon the baby discovers that life outside the womb is really far better than inside… The new life that takes place after this one is over – when we enter through the birth canal, sometimes called ‘death’ will be found to be SO much better than this one…
[Insert Your Eulogy Here]
The supreme example of untimely death is Jesus himself, of course. He died quite young (at 33 years). But God used His life and His death to jar the callused conscience of men and to draw them to the new life that goes on throughout eternity. He accomplished Gods mission for His life by dying.
We are not permitted ever to see what “might have been” nor what might yet be. We never see the benefits of something tragic and painful – yet God promises that He will take these things and work them together somehow for the good for all those who trust in him. Perhaps _______’s life can be an example for others – to take the good and to see the error of the bad and so refine our own lives in such a way that we reflect the image of God in which we were created… ________’s life touched many people. His/her death has raise all kinds of emotions. Let those be used to make each of us better people.
In the days to come, remember _______’s life and your experiences with him/her. Talk about those memories with one another and allow his/her memory to be a treasure in your own lives. If you’re angry with him, tell him so. If his/her death has devastated you, tell him that. …Share those emotions with one another. You will be amazed at how much faster the healing will come if you are able to share your burdens. …God will heal and bring comfort. He will be there as you call on Him.
SCRIPTURES Psalm 43selections – 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)
Rom 8:35, 37-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 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)
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)
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 God of our lives: Hear our prayer for courage in this time of grief. Grant us courage to face the loss of _______ with thanksgiving for his/her life, supporting and consoling his/her loved ones who shall miss him the most, so that the shock and pain of his/her death may draw them closer to you and to one another. Gracious God, death is hard… Grief is the hardest work we can do. Give us your help, give us your strength, hold us securely in your hand. Help us to love one another and so get through this time together… Grant us your peace…. 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 He who watches over our going out and our coming in and who loves us at all times in our lives, give us His peace and fill us with the hope of eternity. Amen.
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