Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the eleventh 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.
Here Yesterday, Gone Today #11 Sudden Death 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 Our gracious Lord, on this day we find ourselves facing death squarely in the face and not liking what we see. We do not understand death nor do we know how to quench the pain and sorrow in our own hearts in this hour. We seek your guidance and wisdom and comfort just now. Be in our midst, impressing on us the fact that you are here and that you are in control. Grant us peace, O Lord. 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 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)
Romans 6:3-9 – All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his/her death. We were buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
MEDITATION Today we are gathered here for one of the most profoundly sad events of our lives. To say final farewells to one who has been a part of our lives for many years. And as sad as death always is, it is amplified in its pain with the suddenness of it all. There is something very hard to take when a loved one is living one day and the next day is gone forever. So tears are OK today. In fact, we do no one a service – even ourselves – when we “hold it in” and are “strong” for one another. Funerals and memorial services are occasions of sorrow and tears and memories – and to bury the strong emotions of these times will only necessitate those feelings coming out in some way at a later date. Today and the days to come are days to grieve your loss and days to support one another – for each one of you has his or her own grief and hurt and needs the others. Be kind, be gentle, be patient. Allow tears. Talk about this one you have lost...and eventually your tears will cease and you can be happy again. The impact that _______ had on each of your lives will never end. The interactions you had with him over the years – as husband/wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren, friend, or neighbor – will continue to interact with who you are and how you respond to life in its various situations. There isn't any person who touches our lives who is forgotten in our inner being. No one will ever know the extent to which ________ affected lives with which he/she came into contact. His/her life and his/her passions and his/her relationships and his/her inner thinking and ambitions were fully known only to God...and only God knows how his/her life has touched others and just who those others are. Many of the people whom he/she touched are here today – but it is certain that even gathered here we have only a small fraction of all the lives he/she touched in his/her lifetime. These few minutes this morning/afternoon are set aside as a time for memories. Now is the time to walk through your relationship with _________ in your mind and to recreate your first impression of him/her. What was your earliest memory of this man/woman? How young you were then – and how full of life he/she was... Think about those times when you talked together – serious talks about problems or concerns in your life or his/hers.... Remember your disagreements. They are an important part of your memory... Think about how you used to make up – sometimes with words – other times with actions without any words... Remember the things you used to do together – the places you would go, the things you would see, the fun, the sense of humor...the simple enjoyment. Remember the low points you helped one another through? Remember how you would chide one another? …All of these are part of your inheritance from ______. Each of you gets a full share and each of your shares is unlike anyone else’s... And each of these is yours to keep for as long as you live...
[After Writing a Eulogy, Insert it Here]
________ is gone now. He/she has made one of those mysterious and sometimes fearful transitions of life...as far as we know, the final one. But death is to be viewed only as one of the many transitions of life. ...When we are conceived in our mothers womb we begin life. When we are born we undergo the first great transition – it is no doubt fearful – the unknown always is – but it's a transition into something better. The other transitions of life are similar: from infancy to childhood, from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood, from adulthood to old age – -each of these is filled with uncertainty and a certain amount of fear, but, looking back, none of them is to be feared (at least validly)... Perhaps we can project those past experiences into the future and understand death as another transition. We are afraid of it, but perhaps we have nothing really to fear. Death is but a transition from what was – the physical – to what will be – the spiritual. It is imperative that each of us prepare ourselves for that spiritual and inevitable transition...so far, no one who has ever lived has gotten around it...we will not be the exceptions. God has prepared a place for us but it is up to us to accept the invitation to come. There is no doubt that those who knew _______ well will miss him/her and miss him/her deeply for a long time. His/her loss is a very real one in your lives. God will, in time, heal your wounds and give you peace again.
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, and 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 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)
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.)
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 Sovereign and gracious God: On a day of deep sadness and subdued hope, we pray for relief from the pain in our hearts. ________ has left us take up residence in the eternal kingdom. We are happy for him, but we are also freshly reminded of the shortness of our own time on earth, and we are anxious. Recall to our minds the teachings of Jesus: that you are a loving God who provides for all our needs, if we simply seek first your kingdom and your righteousness. Help us to seek righteousness and receive peace. Touch those here today who mourn and give them comfort. Touch them with your peace and power and embrace them with your love. Heal their broken hearts in the name of Jesus.
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 bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his/her face to shine upon you and give you peace.
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