Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the fifth 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.
Sorrow and Tears and Memories #5
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;....
INVOCATION Our gracious Lord, you know the feelings present in this family and among these friends today. We, together, experience the pain of separation, already the “missing” of one who has become a part of our own lives over the years. Be with us just now in these moments of memorial and give us your peace. Help us to remember ________ and help us to support one another in our loss. 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 what the future holds?” .... …The Psalm writer asked of God: Psalm 144:3,4 ”O Lord, what is man that you take notice of him? Man is but a breath, his days are like a passing shadow.”....
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.”
MEDITATION Funerals and memorial services are occasions of sorrow and tears and memories – but occasions at which to marvel as well for, gathered in one place are so many of the family and friends and neighbors and co-workers who have been touched by one person – today _______. It is quite possible that no one here knows everyone. But, no doubt, ________ did (except for those of you who are here wonderfully supporting those who did know ______ and are hurting). His/her life touched each one of you in profound or minor ways which will only be known fully in the years to come… or maybe never. We can assume too, that all of the lives he/she touched are not here – just a few – He/she touched many others....most no one will ever know about. Perhaps he/she said a kind word that encouraged someone immeasurably. Perhaps he/she did some small thing (to him/her) that changed someone’s life forever. Perhaps he/she simply extended a courtesy or a kindness to someone to whom such kindness was terribly rare… And we will never know – perhaps _______ himself/herself never even knew…
I’ve often thought that our lives resemble a pebble thrown out into the center of a pond. It seems to make a small splash, but that splash begins ripples starting from that point and ever increasing until the entire pond has been reached to its very fartherest shore. We, like that pebble, seem as nothing in this big world, but the little ripple that our lives makes is often nothing short of profound… These few minutes this (evening/morning/afternoon) are set aside for memories – to think about the impact _______ has had on his/her world, on his/her neighborhood, on those of you who knew him well… The pebble of his/her life has sent out ripples that have gone on for ___ years and will go on for years to come, touching more people directly and indirectly than anyone will ever know… Now is a specific time to remember your relationship with _______, and to recognize that in his/her death goes something good from the world… Whether he/she was your husband or father or grandfather (wife, mother or grandmother) or neighbor or friend. Remember the good times you had together, the laughter, the kidding around, the long talks, the small talks... Remember the disagreements (they are part of your memories too). The arguments. The disputes – all of them under girded with a foundation of love.... These memories are your inheritance. They are part of the rich heritage ________ leaves to you... better than wealth or “things” which all perish – your memories are with you for the rest of your life… And if you pull them out and use them frequently, they will remain strong and vibrant and inspirational…
In the past couple of days, so many memories have been flowing back and forth among family members and friends and those of you who have heard them and shared them have been blessed because of them. Continue to pull them out in the days and weeks ahead. Talk about ________, reminisce, shed a tear. Enjoy…
[Insert Your Eulogy Here]
There is no doubt that those who knew _______ well will miss him/her. His/her loss is a very real one in your lives. Believe that God will, in time, heal your wounds and give you peace again. One of the good things that comes out of the death of a loved one (and there aren’t very many good things, I’ve got to admit) is what happens to most people internally. Along with the hurt and grief, we are confronted with the frailty and brevity of life. We become aware that WE can die and that we most certainly WILL die some day – hopefully a long time from now – or maybe tomorrow. Making that realization as productive as possible, it ought to cause us to evaluate our own lives. Exactly what are we doing that will be noteworthy? Who are we helping? What qualities are we passing on? What are the ripples that go out from us that will touch others? What will the minister have to say about our lives? How will our family and friends remember us? God has given us one life. It is, of course, to enjoy to the fullest. But it is also to serve the world and our fellow man and even to worship God – maybe especially to worship and serve God. The funeral service must not just be about _______ and what he/she meant and how he/she lived and the pain of seeing him/her gone. It is about the future and what YOU and I will yet become in our lives that is worthwhile. It’s an internal thing. It doesn’t show, but each of us think about it in a time like this… ________ has touched each of you. His/her life has meant something to your own. Let the good he/she shared be part of the good in you. Let his/her love and grace and hope and faith infect you for the rest of your life. Let his/her memory give you courage to live life on the highest plane possible.
ENDING SCRIPTURES Isaiah 43:2,7 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...everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made, I will be with them. (NIV)
John 11:25,26 [One day Jesus was walking and talking 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.” I imagine Jesus paused for a moment to let those words sink in, then he asked her, “Do you believe this?” I think she thought about that for a moment then she replied, “Yes, Lord. I believe.” (NIV)
Jesus says the same to us today. He is the resurrection and the life. If you believe, you need never truly die…Do you believe this? And in our reply is our hope for eternity.
Paul wrote: 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)
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 God of our lives: Hear our prayer for courage in this time of grief. Grant us courage to face the loss of ________ with thanksgiving for his/her life. Help us to give support and consolation to those who have loved him/her, and give them your peace. Grant us courage, too, to think calmly and act wisely in anticipation of our own inevitable death. Help us to do what we can to make our departure from this life as painless as possible for our loved ones. And let our love for the Lord and our trust in your promise of life eternal take such deep root in our spirits that we shall be ready, thankful and uncomplaining, whenever you should call us home. Thank you for your presence this day.
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 face to shine upon you and give you peace – both today and forevermore. Amen.
The Eulogy Writers 4100 Old Dominion Dr. West Bloomfield, MI 48323