Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the sixth 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.
No Words of Wisdom #6 Service for a person of deep faith
CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; I Corinthians 2:9. 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 dime to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to be born, and a time to die...” “But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, that is what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ (NIV)
INVOCATION O Lord, in times like these we need one who is constant. We need a rock on which to rest our faith. We need one who can give us comfort and peace – whose presence we can feel and know. You are that one. You are the healer of hurt; the soother of pain; the balm for our sorrows. We need to have you near us today, Lord Jesus, more than almost any other time in our lives. You know the pain of separation and the grief of loved ones lost. We do not reject your will and your way but seek to be assured in it – to be held in your loving arms and cherished just now. Hear the pain we experience and heal us. Love us more abundantly than ever before for you are our strength through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
SCRIPTURE Psalm 39: 4-7 LORD, show me when my life will end. Show me how many days I have left. Tell me how short my life will be. You have given me only a few days to live. My whole life doesn’t seem like anything to you. No man’s life lasts any longer than a breath. [Think about that] People are only shadows as they go here and there. They rush around, but it doesn’t mean anything. They pile up wealth, but they don’t know who will get it. Lord, what can I look forward to now? You are the only hope I have. Save me from all the wrong things I’ve done. [My very hope is in you.] (NIRV)
I 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. 1Th 4:18 So cheer each other up with these words of comfort. (NIRV)
Romans 8:31-33, 35, 38-39 If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 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)
MEDITATION Usually when you go to a church or to a funeral home with a minister standing before you, you are expected to listen to the wisdom of the servant of God attentively as he/she talks about death and life and life eternal…as he/she shares about the life of the dearly departed. Today there is little wisdom here, only a few words of comfort. I hope you will allow my words today to be background for your own thoughts and memories of _______. Let your mind wander (if you don’t listen at all, that’s OK – let my voice be a kind of background noise to your own thoughts – let this time together be a time when you can be alone with your thoughts and sorrows) and look briefly into your relationship with _______. _______ was a good man/woman. He/she was multi-faceted. Reflect on his/her life. Think of his/her sense of humor, his/her kindnesses, your disagreements – not in a maudlin way, but in a way in which takes you back into your experiences with him/her and all of the happy and sad and joyful and tearful times. Today is a day for experiencing grief and loss. It is not shameful to express these. It is fitting. In fact, in our world, one of the rare acceptable places for tears freely flowing is here – now… Tears, in fact, are one of the signs that one has been loved. Jesus himself wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus, and Jesus knew better than any of us that death, for the man or woman of God is not final. Jesus knew that there is a life after this one which is so wonderful that it causes this one to pale in comparison. Jesus knew the Psalm that says that our hope is in God. He knew that our physical bodies would one day be reconstructed into some sort of heavenly body and that all those who believe would be forever together with the Father...but Jesus wept. You see, He also knew that life is precious on earth and to lose a loved one – a husband/wife or father/mother or grandfather/grandmother or brother/sister or friend or neighbor—hurts – and hurts deeply. _______’s death is a wonderful thing for him/her. He/she is with God. But it is painful for those who have loved him/her and will see him/her – talk to him/her – laugh with him/her – no more on this earth.
Mary, the mother of Jesus wept when she saw her son die – knowing full well that the very son of God is victorious even in death. I can imagine the disciples weeping… We shed tears because WE stand at loss more than _______.
[Insert Your Eulogy Here]
It is not accurate to say that ________ has died. His/her body has died. It was weak. But his/her spirit was strong. His/her faith was intact. He/she has not died – he has been glorified. He/she has gone to be with the Lord and we haven't seen the last of him/her yet. We shall see him again when we meet in heaven… He/she nor we will have tears then. We will have no pain or suffering… We will not fear death. In the days to come you will still feel your grief and sense of loss. Tears will still flow as you remember. But gradually the tears will slow down and eventually stop. That is the natural and normal course of life. Sometimes when this happens we may feel a bit guilty. We must not, though. While _______'s earthly life is ended, ours is assigned to go on for a while yet. The cessation of tears is the healing of God in our lives. It is His touch which offers peace. We are to accept it. Life changes today. You have known and loved this dear man/woman for ____ years. His/her life has become a part of your own. It is hard to imagine life without his/her voice and his/her presence and his/her work. But really, his/her life goes on – in you. His/her touch in your life – his/her influence – his/her goodness – will be seen again and again in your own life. When you recognize those things, smile. Whisper a prayer thanking God for having had him in your life for these years and know that you have been blessed.
I would like to read a few sections of scripture which have been helpful to thousands who have mourned over the centuries as an offering of comfort to you today...
Psalm 90 selections – Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or even before you had formed the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God....You turn men back to the dust, saying, '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....Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands. (NIV)
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, whole 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)
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 that you are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming to the world.
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 would 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… It is our prayer, O Lord, that you do increase in us your gifts of faith, hope and love…and give us your peace in this time of grief for you are the great comforter and healer and our eternal hope.
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 grace and peace abide with you today and forever. May He grant you comfort in your time of grief and be with you in your time of sadness. Amen.
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