Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the nineteenth 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.
NOT Quiet Desperation #19
CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 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)
Psalm 27:1, 14 The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait [I say] for the LORD! (NIV)
INVOCATION Most gracious and loving God: We humbly pray for you to make your presence felt among us and within us in this hour. We need courage to control the fears and uncertainty of times like this. The death of someone who we have known and loved brings us too close to our own mortality and to our own vulnerability to the ravages and surprises of life. Help us, during this time of remembering and honoring, to build up new resources of faith and assurance. Let the spirit of _____, who is now beyond fear, inspire us to live more bravely, trusting in the love of our families and friends and in the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is in that name we meet here today and seek comfort and hope. Amen.
SCRIPTURES Psalm 15:1 – LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. (NIV)
Psalm 27:1-5;13-14 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 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 [I say] for the LORD. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)
Romans 8:18 – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Revelation 7:15-17 …and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over [those who die]. 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)
2 Peter 3:8-14 – But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. …What kind of people, then, ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming… in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends,…make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with God. (NIV)
MEDITATIONHenry David Thoreau, in his book “Walden,” wrote, “The mass of men [in this world] lead lives of quiet desperation.” He had observed that most of us seem destined to live all – or most – of our days in frustration. Most of us will never be able to do what we would really want to do. Most of us will never truly fulfill what we believe God has planned for us. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Can that really be true? He is suggesting that we will never step out of the shadows. We will come and go, day by day, unhappy with who we are, dissatisfied, feeling we could be more, but will, in reality, be obscure, hidden, leading lives of quiet – often secret – desperation.
But I don’t think that has to be true. Certainly some people do, but not everyone. And none of us are “destined” to that fate. If it comes upon us, it is because of the decisions we have made or the ambitions we have developed or not developed or the drive and energy we pour into life or hold back… We can refuse to live in despair. We can decide that our lives will be worthwhile and we can know that we, as human beings – as children of God – are valuable. ______ didn’t live a life of quiet desperation. He/she lived a life that was, in fact, filled with positive values and all that he/she did, he/she did with enthusiasm and determination and he/she set her/his own destiny – to succeed – to be a person who was loved by others – and to be a person who loved them. ______’s life was definitely NOT a life of desperation – quiet or otherwise. His/hers was a life of hope for the future, whatever that might hold, and no matter how long that might be.
And, deep down inside, we too know that we, if we could be in touch with the right power, could come out from that quiet desperation that might be a part of our own lives into a life as dynamic as ______’s. And secretly, that is our hope. He has, in a very positive and definite way, inspired our lives to better living.
Having known ______, you know what I mean. You know that he/she was a person who was able to overcome – to not look at situations as hopeless, but to somehow see possibilities. He would not accept defeat. He didn’t know the meaning of the word “can’t.”
If anything can be gained from having known a man/woman like _____, it most certainly has to be “attitude” or “perspective” or “determination” or “ambition” – maybe all of those. What he/she brought to life and what he/she took from life was the sure knowledge that who you are and what you accomplish and what you will become is important; and important enough to be a part of your daily life. I don’t know all of where ______’s wonderful perspective came from, but I do know that escape from that life of desperation Thoreau talks about, most often comes through the power of God in our lives. It is God who gives life meaning. It is God who gives perspective. It is God who keeps us encouraged with the fact that we are His beloved sons and daughters and that He’ll love us forever. It is God who continually urges us on toward the best we can be. And, it is God who knows that full potential. You see, each and every one of us were created with a purpose in mind. God didn’t just randomly cause this person to be born and then that one until there were 6 billion people on earth. EACH and EVERY person ever born has had a unique purpose for walking this earth. It may be something as lofty as initiating world peace or solving the problem of hunger in third world countries or as humble as raising a child who knows that he or she is loved or being the neighbor or friend to someone who needs a bit of attention… But EACH of us have a purpose designed by God.
[Insert the Eulogy you've written here]
______ refused to live a life of quiet desperation. He didn’t seek the spotlight, but often, throughout his/her life, the spotlight was aimed in his/her direction because he/she was such an inspiration to so many… Because of his/her life, others’ lives have been influenced to better living. I can imagine that many of you sitting here this morning [afternoon/evening] have been influenced and changed and inspired by this dear man/woman. As you look back on your own life and at the times that his/her life intersected yours, you can see it. You can see his/her touch. You can remember some of his/her words. You can see the light of life in his/her eyes… Those memories and realizations are one of the elements of your inheritance given by _____. He/she leaves them to you to treasure and share and develop. May all the good and positive qualities that _____ had be manifested in your life and then, as you reach out and inspire yet others, his/her life goes out even further into the world – after he/she is gone.
ENDING SCRIPTURES 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)
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)
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)
PRAYER Most gracious God, at this time of all times, we acknowledge that you are supreme and that you are the only one who can fully make sense out of life and death. You have numbered our days and you have given us the ability to inspire, like ______ and you ultimately receive the glory that has been our lives, for all we have and all we are comes from you. We thank you for the opportunity to have known this dear man/woman. We thank you for the life of inspiration and hope he/she shared with the world and with us individually. We thank you now, that ______ has reached the end of his/her life and has run the race well. And, of course, Lord, we thank you for hope: hope that, as life goes on, our lives will reflect some of good and some of the great that we have seen in _____. Now we ask that you would enjoy him/her forever and give us your peace.
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 – And now, may the grace of God be with you. May He raise your spirits as you look to the Him and know that all will be well. Amen.
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