Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the thirteenth 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.
Sunset, Sunrise #13
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 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; to be instruments of your peace... 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 this day. And in his/her death we recognize that our world is at loss. Bless us in these moments as we pay tribute to him/her life and as we remember...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/her days are like a passing shadow.” (NIV)
Psalm 39: 4-7 – Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. (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, we of all men are most to be pitied....But the truth is, Christ was raised to life – the first fruits 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 first fruits, and afterwards, at his/her 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/her feet; and the last enemy to be abolished is death. (NIV)
MEDITATION Possibly one of the most beautiful things that most people will ever see in this world is the beauty of a sunset... Have you ever sat on a hillside and watched the sun going down? – Don't you thrill at the beauty of that sunset? It's the ending of another day – nighttime is just a few minutes away and rest – and then the awakening for a new day to begin all over again... That is precisely what we see in this hour. The ending of a day – the closing chapter in a long story; the time of quiet peace after a busy and sometimes hectic day... Some of our days are long and sunlit, others are cloudy and stormy, but in all things there is an ending. And, in reality, the ending is part of the process of life. The ending is almost always accompanied by a sense of peace and well-being....sometimes too, by a sense of loneliness and loss, as you experience today... But that is the way it is with one’s life. When all the days have come and gone, all the happiness spent, all the joy complete, God reaches down, takes us by the hand, and gently tells us it is time to go... and left in the wake of that leaving are many who have a great confusion of emotions... Sorrow and grief or sadness or loneliness. Sometimes, even, a sense of wonderful peace But always there are memories – always a flood of memories when we lose someone we have known for so many years and interacted with so many times and in so many ways… I heard recently a wonderful way of understanding death. It was said that death is like a ship crossing a very large lake. When it casts off from the shore you can see it in all of its detail – the smokestacks, the bridge, the anchor chain, the bilge pumps spewing water… But as it sets sail it almost immediately becomes less distinct in every way and the further it goes, the less you can recognize details. Eventually, if you watch long enough, it becomes just a dot on the horizon and then, a moment later, it simply vanishes from view. But there is another perspective – one of someone standing on the opposite shore. At first the ship appears to be just a smudge on the horizon, but quickly it becomes apparent that it is a ship and, as it steams nearer, the observer can see it in all its detail. You and I are the ones who have watched ______ sail off, but God is on the opposite shore, waiting and watching and seeing him/her arrive just as we have watched him/her depart this earth… In a very true sense, there is no arriving at one place without the leaving of another... and, as in all journeys, the leaving is sometimes filled with uncertainty and fear but almost always the “arriving” is filled with great joy. And when we have that kind of understanding about death we can see death as a beautiful thing... ______'s life was one which touched a lot of people in his/her ____ years.
[Write a Eulogy and Insert it Here]
Now ________ is gone – Let the memories of his/her life bring joy and pleasure...Talk about him often and remember – those discussions you used to have – filled with strong opinions and ideas – but always under-girded with respect and love. Remember the things you used to do together and the laughter and always the good feeling he/she brought through his/her smile and the twinkle in his/her eyes... Those memories are your best inheritance and no one can ever take them from you – treasure them and use them often... In our lives there are numerous transitions that take place. Each of them is rather fearful in anticipation, but always the transitions are transitions to something better than what was. When we are conceived in our mothers womb we began life. When we were born we underwent the first great transition – it was frightening – the unknown always is – we entered with tears. But quickly, we discovered that it was 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)... Death is but a transition from what was – the physical – to what will be – the spiritual. And the “what will be” far surpasses that “from which we came.”
The Bible teaches – and Jesus demonstrated – that death is not final. It is the gateway to something more permanent and real than any of us have ever experienced or even imagined. The grave is not to be feared but to be found awe inspiring. It is the beginning of the sequel to ones life. This one will contain none of the struggle and suffering and confusion and pain of the first one. _______ had his/her share of those in his/her lifetime-but today those are gone.
The famous statesman, Benjamin Franklin died back in 1790. He wrote an epitaph for his own monument before he died. It reads like this, “The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author.
So for ______ , the book is ended...but the story has just begun.... In each of our lives our own story goes on. When we face the death of a loved one it is perhaps wise to stop and think through just where we are heading in our own lives. God has given us the years we have to serve him and His world – are we doing it appropriately? Are we growing stronger in our “god-likeness” – are we becoming people of faith? _______ has come to the sunset of life. Each sunset in our world is, somewhere else, a sunrise – not later, not someday, but at that same instant. And in that sunset of death our doubts and sad nesses will become, ultimately, the joy and wonder of a brand new day.
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)
Revelation 7:16-17 – 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.”
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 O Lord, today we say good-bye to one who has been loved. That is not an easy task. It causes inward pain and spiritual sorrow. I ask that you will touch those who mourn here today. Give them your peace. Give them your comfort. Give them healing. We thank you for _______’s life. We thank you for what he/she accomplished and who he/she was. May our memories of him always give us pleasure in having had him in our lives. In Jesus’ name.
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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