Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the fourteenth 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.
The Blessing of Death #14 For one who suffered much
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 Lord, on this day we come before you in the humblest way we can, knowing that all we are – our very lives – belong in your hand and we continue to live only so long as you allow it. We confess that we do not know the answer to pain and suffering and death – we don't know why they are in the world nor why some are destined to suffer so much. On this day we need the assurance of your presence in our lives and the feel of your touch and the security of your strong embrace. Be with us, O Lord, in these moments as we remember and pay tribute to this one who has been loved for these brief years. Give us your peace as we remember and grieve. Amen.
SCRIPTURE Ecclesiastes 8:6,7 – The scriptures continue on: “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)
Psalm90:1-6; 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.” (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 be 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 Perhaps you’ve noticed: Death does not always appear the same. When it comes to children or young people it seems premature and evil. When it comes upon a middle-aged person in the prime of life it an unwelcome intruder and shatterer of dreams and hopes. When it takes a father or mother from the home, the tears are of the deepest grief... But when it comes to one who has suffered and hurt for so long – to one whose pain had begun to be a part of everyday life – to one who had no hope of the suffering ending, it appears as an angel of mercy. It is the answer to prayers...not that life was not treasured – for surely it was – but that life had become a burden and death a release from pain. To those like ________, death is a friend because it gives freedom from the bondage that had held him/her in its grip so tightly. It brings an end to the sleepless nights and the endless days. Those of you who watched the suffering for so long must surely have whispered a prayer when he/he relaxed, finally in peace and painlessness. Death is never preferred, except when it brings with it release from a life that has lost its positive aspects…
As Christians, we believe that the human spirit was created to go on living forever...that death is not the final note of our lives. Death just frees our spirits to further development. It means vacating a house that has been dilapidated and ruined by the ravages of this earth and moving into a large, spacious home where the scenery is breathtaking and all of our needs are supplied... It means putting off the old and putting on the new...
Death is not the destruction of all we have built in our lifetimes. It is the completion of all the work we have done. It is the taking of our profit into eternity to lay at the feet of God... “See, God, what I’ve done with what you gave me?” That is what _______ is doing today.
One man said to his dying, suffering mother, “I'm going to let you go now, mother. Have a good time. You have earned this joy.” That is the Christian perspective of death and of heaven. The Bible says, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
[Insert the eulogy you've written here]
I hope that, as you look back at his/her life, and your relationship with _______ you will think back before the cancer [or other illness]. Most of his/her life was back then and long or hard illness changes a person... There is pain which is unspoken, there is fear, there is uncertainty about the future, there is questioning... and these sometimes mask all the good times that came before. And all of those memories are cloaked in the love and kindness of this man/woman you knew who is now gone... Remember his/her smile and the sparkle in his/her eyes. Remember his/her voice and mannerisms and his/her ability to make others happy... In the days to come, talk of these things, for these wonderful memories are the best inheritance any person can leave. Remember, share, talk, cry together – and live in the hope that one day you will meet again and that this time he/she will have no pain in accordance with God’s great plan.
Jesus demonstrated that death is not final. It isn't final for anyone. It is simply the turn of the page in ones eternal life.
Each of us will eventually face the day of our own death. God wants us to be prepared for that day because few of us are given much indication as to just when it will be. Jesus bids us to seek forgiveness of all our sins and to be proclaimed children of God.
ENDING SCRIPTURES 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, 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.” (Jesus would say the same to us today. He would say that He IS the resurrection and the life and that death need not be for all time if we believe – if we trust in Him… Then he would ask us that all important question, just as he asked the woman – “Do you believe this?” And in our response to that question is our hope for eternity.)
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 O Lord, today we thank you for _______’s life. We thank you for the good years and, even though we don’t understand the happenings of the past years, we thank you for them too. You put _______ into our world to bless those he/she knew – with his/her gentleness and goodness – his/her sense of priority and right… Lord, for his/her touch in our lives we are grateful. Help us always to remember the whole of his/her life – not just the suffering and pain, and give us comfort as we grieve over what we have lost…
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 The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus in the knowledge and love of God, and of God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit remain with you always. Amen. Philippians 4:7
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