Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the fifteenth 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.
Comfort’s Source: God #15
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;....” (NIV)
INVOCATION O Lord, we find it difficult to accept the cycle of life when we have lost one who has been loved and respected and who has contributed to our world through his/her work and goodness. We are impressed this day with the suddenness with which life can change and happiness can be transformed into suffering and loss. We need you with us today to give us comfort and peace and healing and the assurance that ______ is safe in his/her heavenly home and with you forever. Touch us in this hour with the knowledge of your presence, begin the healing of our spirits from the pain of loss, and give us the wisdom and strength to minister to one another of your peace. You are the God we turn to and trust. Be with us now and until the end of time. 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 how it will be? (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)
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)
II Corinthians 5:1; 4-7. 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...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. (NIV)
MEDITATION When we meet at the funeral home or at the cemetery it is always with a peculiar set of emotions. Some mourn profoundly for a loved one who has died, some hurt because a friend or neighbor is grieving, some feel confusion as to just what they feel.... But each one knows that whatever they are experiencing, it must, for the most part, be experienced alone.... But I assure you today that you are not alone. Even though no other person present can feel the way you do and no one here can fully comprehend what is going on inside, there is one who knows and cares and loves you and offers words of peace and who can work the work of healing. That, of course, is Jesus....
COMFORT COMES FROM KNOWING AN ETERNAL MERCY AND LOVE THROUGH JESUS. If we come to know His mercy and love personally in this life, we will know it on into eternity. Paul declares in Romans, that “Nothing in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Comfort comes from being assured that we and our loved ones are in Christ with all His love and mercy, always.
I heard a story told about an elderly woman who lived in southwest Scotland. She wanted very much to see the magnificent city of Edinburgh. However, she was afraid to take the train because the track carried it through a very long tunnel and tunnels simply terrified her. She didn’t know why. All she knew was that the very thought of going inside a mountain, under so much dirt and rock – no matter how much strength the tunnel had and no matter how many others had passed safely before her, she just couldn’t do it. One day she got word that her brother had been arrested by the police and needed all the support he could get. Would she come – to Edinburgh? How could she not? It was a Monday and she got a ticket for Wednesday. For forth-eight hours she lived in dread and fear and by the time she actually boarded the train she was almost totally exhausted. But within an hour, with the train clicking down the tracks, she fell asleep. When she awoke, she discovered that she was already in the city. The tunnel was miles behind her. She had gone through it without incident and without fear…
In many ways that is what death is like for those who trust in Jesus. You close your eyes on earth, sometimes very fearful of passing through what you believe to be a tunnel or a dark valley called death, and when you open your eyes again after a restful sleep, you are in the promised land... Without pain or fear or death threatening any more. They once were quite real, but on the other side of the tunnel, they are simply gone… Our greatest comfort comes in knowing that God is with us and with our loved ones as we or they go through that frightening “tunnel” – that “valley of the shadow of death” – that He takes away our fear, allows us to sleep peacefully until we arrive. God, being in our lives, gives the strength – the courage – to face whatever life throws at us – even death itself…
[The Eulogy is to be inserted here]
ONE OF THE GREATEST SOURCES OF COMFORT IN TIMES LIKE THIS IS THE PRESENCE OF FRIENDS WHO ARE SIMPLY “THERE.” Their presence and acts of love say, “You are not alone. In some way, great or small, we share in your loss – and together we can – we will – make it.”
A little girl came home from a neighbor's house where the neighbor's little girl – her own playmate – had died. “Why did you go over there?” questioned her father. “You need to leave that family alone in their grief.” “I went over to comfort her mother,” said the little one. “What could you do to comfort her?” asked the skeptical father. “I climbed into her lap and cried with her.”
Friends share sorrows, loss and pain. After we have cried together, we can laugh and rejoice together again. Friends and the God of our faith are the way we cope with the crisis called death... We will miss _________. How can we not? His/her life touched yours. Who he/she was affected just a bit – maybe a lot – who YOU are. There will never be another ______ in your life. Remember him/her and all his/her ways. Remember the sound of his/her voice. Remember his/her smile and his/her goodness and his/her love…
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)
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 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)
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)
CLOSING PRAYER Gracious God, on this day of sorrow, we need your peace. Give us hope and peace and show us your grace and teach us the power of your love and compassion. Heal those who mourn and restore, ultimately, happiness again. We truly thank you today for the life of _______. He/she has meant much to those he/she has touched. Keep him/her now ever in your care and give those who mourn his/her passing the healing of heart and spirit that only you can bring.
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 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen. – 2 Corinthians 13:14
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