Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the eighth 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.
Life is Too Short #8 One who suffered before dying
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, you know the length of days assigned to each one of us and you know how we have used them – to bring love and joy into the world, to lighten the burdens of others, to encourage and up build... On this day we trust your great knowledge of _________ and your wisdom and goodness to usher him/her into the eternal kingdom. Over the years he/she has touched many lives – may those times be a credit to your kingdom and ultimately bring you glory. For his/her life we give you thanks today. We thank you for the years that he/she has lived and worked and brought joy to the world.... In his/her death we recognize that our world is at loss. Bless us in these moments as we pay tribute to his/her life and as we remember... Amen.
SCRIPTURE Ecclesiastes 8:6,7 The Scriptures continue: “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?”
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...the length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away... (NIV)
Psalm 90:1-6; 10; 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 [is] 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, [then] we of all [people] are most to be pitied....But the truth is, Christ was raised to life – the firstfruits 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 firstfruits, and afterwards, at His 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 feet; and the last enemy to be abolished is death.
MEDITATION For some people life is simply too short no matter how long they have actually lived. In their life times they have contributed to the world, they have loved and been loved by family and friends, they have enjoyed life as it was intended to be enjoyed by the creator of life itself – God... To those people, death is an unwelcome reality. To the people who have known them and loved them, death is a thief who steals not a treasure of silver or gold but the real treasure of life – the treasure that lies at the deepest levels of our hearts and affections – a relationship – a person we have loved... The Bible gives us a rule of thumb regarding the length of our lives – it says that we are generally assigned three score and ten years – seventy years – eighty if we have the strength, it says... Those years are filled with all kinds of good things – and almost always mixed with the good are troubles and frustrations – crises and turmoil of one kind or another – pain and suffering.... and it is at both of these points – the good and the bad – that the people in a persons life become super important. People we love can laugh with us and rejoice and be happy and cry and hold us and give comfort and encouragement. With people who love us in our lives in times of trouble or sickness or fear or pain, we can make it – we can manage – we can make the best of it – we can have hope… Today as we meet here, we do so simply to set aside a few minutes to say to one another that we care – that each of our loss is all of our loss, that each sorrow is our sorrow. We gather to cry with one another and hold close those who mourn (if not physically, then certainly in spirit) and simply to be here in the silence of love. Today we meet here to spend a few minutes walking through the meadows of our minds and hearts just remembering. Each of you here today have your individual memories of __________. Take these few minutes just to remember – -...remember how he/she walked and how his/her voice sounded... ...remember the kind of clothes he/she wore and the spirit you sensed in him/her... ...remember, perhaps, some of your conversations, maybe a joke he/she once told you or a story about when he/she was young... It's OK to smile as you remember – or to weep.... It's strange, but not unusual, that, at times like these, it's almost impossible to remember anything but good – and that is as it should be because today we remember what we have had – we look at our good fortune in having known and had _______ in our lives – and not at what we have lost or that which wasn't worth keeping. In your mind right now, capture the picture of _______ that you most cherish and hold that as your final memory. The reality of the casket or of sickness or of turmoil and fear are not the images that you wish to remember, even though those are certainly the last ones you experience. Your final image of ______ is the one you have now, as you envision the man/woman in his/her finest element – with you, alive and vital and fun and full of life...
[Insert the eulogy here]
Now _______ is gone. There is no more sickness, sorrow, fear, nor pain. The [name of disease] has taken its toll. In our hearts there remains his/her memory which will affect us always. May those memories inspire us to better living and give us hope. Your lives have each been touched by _______. That is something. In some way, directly or indirectly, he/she has helped make you the person you are today. Maybe it was years ago when he/she was fully healthy or maybe it was in his/her time of suffering or maybe even in his/her dying, but in some way he/she has reached out to you and shaped you and your life will never be quite the same again. That’s the power of his/her life touching yours. That is the fascinating thing about life. We “rub off” on one another. We never live in a vacuum. Our words and actions and prayers and even our thoughts, perhaps, affect everyone we encounter – and through them, often even people we never encounter… ________ has had an impact on this old world. His/her life has meant something… And I tell you today, his/her life goes on. It goes on in your memories, in your being, and most certainly in eternity.
ENDING SCRIPTURESIsaiah 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].
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)
In the book of John, Jesus had a conversation with a woman and He 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.” Then he asked her, “Do you believe this?” She thought for a moment, then said to him, “Yes, Lord. I believe.” Our hope for eternal life is in that statement. Jesus still tells us that He is the resurrection and the life – that as we believe in Him we need not really die. Our bodies will wear out and die but that which is truly us – our souls – will go on living because Jesus has overcome death. Jesus asked the woman the all important question, “do you believe this?” Her answer – our answer – gives us hope or denies it. As we believe in Him, so our lives will be blessed.
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 Increase in us, most gracious God, the gifts we truly need on a day like today... Increase in us the gift of faith – not blind belief, but unswerving trust because we know that you care for us and for our loved ones throughout eternity. Increase in us the gift of hope. At a time when hope has been dimmed by mourning, we pray that you rekindle in us the hope experienced by people of faith throughout the centuries and throughout the world. Increase in us the gift of love. Teach us to give love a chance when nothing else seems to work. Help us, as family and friends of _______ to reach out in love to comfort one another… Increase in us, we pray, your gifts of faith, hope and love…and give us your peace in this time of grief.
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 God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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