Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the ninth 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 Passionate Life #9 Acceptable for use with Suicide
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 Our gracious Lord, on this day we find ourselves facing death and not liking in the least bit what we see. We do not understand death nor do we know how to quench the pain and sorrow in our own hearts in this hour. We have a mixture of emotions – we feel anger and grief and frustration and guilt... We seek your guidance and wisdom and comfort just now, for such as we need can only come from you. Be in our midst, impressing on us the fact that you are here and that you are in control even in the midst of this crisis in our lives. Allow us the strength to give one another courage and hope and strength in this time. Grant us your peace, O Lord. 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 [all] end?”....
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.”....
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.” (NIV)
Psalm 27:1 - 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 for the LORD.
Rom 8:31-39 – What, then, shall we say in response to this? 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 is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.
MEDITATION There are a lot of things in life that bring the human heart a great deal of pain but there is no doubt that the greatest pain we suffer is the death of one who has been loved – as a husband/wife or father/mother or brother/sister or son/daughter or friend or neighbor... But even as death is the hardest human experience, sudden death is the hardest of all.... For now there is no opportunity to say good-bye, there is no chance to iron out a conflict that may have existed, there is no time of preparation and getting ready...there is, gone forever, the words from our lips or his/hers – “I love you.” These few minutes this (morning/ afternoon) are set aside for memories. ...Good memories and bad memories alike and for whispered good-byes in the depths of our hearts. We do it in a group so that we are assured that what we feel so profoundly is not uniquely our own. There are others here who feel much as you do – not exactly as you do, of course, but enough so that they can relate... We come here together to “get through” this terrible time in our lives with the help of one another.... We all feel a certain loneliness today. But we are not alone. We all feel, perhaps, a certain anger – we all feel some guilt, we all want to “blame” someone.... but there is no one, really, to blame. Put those things aside for now and just remember. Remember the good times you had together with ______, the laughter, the kidding around (______ loved that), the long talks, the small talks....remember the disagreements (they are part of your memories too), the arguments, the disputes – all of them go to making up the person you knew and your relationship with him/her.... In these past couple of days I have thought that very few of us really understand anything about passion at all. In many ways, _______ was a very passionate man/woman. Whatever he/she did he/she did with full abandon. His/her word was his/her honor. If he/she couldn't do something, he/she would not say he/she would. If he/she committed himself to doing a job, you could be confident that it would be done. No doubt we all know the famous Shakespeare play, “Romeo and Juliet” – passionate people who could not – would not – live without the other. For them, the very thought of life without the one they loved was intolerable...and each, in turn, ended their own lives. I don't understand that – most of us don't... It only makes us angry and we think them fools for being so passionate.... Yet it is considered one of the greatest love stories ever told.... Sometimes people simply cannot tolerate a world devoid of that which they desperately need… When hope is gone, all is lost.
[Write the Eulogy and Insert Here]
Perhaps _______'s greatest strength – and greatest weakness was that he/she saw life in very black and white terms. There was never a compromise with him/her. There was never a gray area. There was never a thought of doing something only part way....His/her word was his/her honor – and once set upon a course of action, it was impossible to change direction.... Each of us, in our own lives, have choices and decisions to make – and we alone are responsible for them... Certainly the actions of everyone around us influence our thinking – that's part of living.... but when it comes to making decisions about our lives, no one but we, ourselves, can take the credit or the blame.... Sometimes we want to find a “scape-goat” for the consequences of the direction we have chosen... Sometimes we feel anger when someone else does something we violently oppose – and we need to blame someone for the consequences.... But that is unfair... The guilt or merit of what each of us do or don't do is on our own heads – and it is wrong to put it anywhere else than there. In times like this, most of us ask the age-old question: Where is God in all of this? The answer is always the same. God is there. God loves each of us more than we can possibly know... And because of His great love, He allows us to make our own decisions, to stumble, and often even to fall. And He is there to pick us up, if we want him to. _______ knew that. I like to think that _______ often did call on God for help. Sometimes God’s response came in clear ways. Other times it seemed to come back to him flat… But God heard him and spoke. ______ just, for some reason couldn’t always hear. And God hears us. God hears the cry of grief from our hearts. He knows the pain we suffer at the loss of one we have loved. He is there ready to comfort and heal.... And not just in our times of grief – but every day. Jesus wants to give you freedom and strength and release from guilt and sin. He wants to say “I love you” again and again. All we need to do is turn our lives over to His care and trust in His power… There is no doubt that those who knew _______ well will miss him and miss him deeply for a very long time. His/her loss is a very real one in your lives. If you find that you are one of those whose hurt just will not diminish, even after the passage of time, please seek help. God is there and there are people who will minister to you in His name in your grief.... Talk to your minister or priest, make an appointment with a counselor – or just sit down with a good friend and work some of your feelings and emotions out.... and trust God. God will, in time, heal your wounds and give you peace again.
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)
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 says the same to us today…that He is the resurrection and life and if we believe in him we need never truly die… Then asks that all important question – “Do you believe it?” Therein lies our hope and our security and our life for all 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 Sovereign and gracious God: On a day of deep sadness and subdued hope, we pray for relief from anxiety and fear and confusion and hurt. ________ has left us and we are in pain. Give us healing. Give us comfort. Give us respite for our weary souls. Help us to seek your righteousness and in exchange receive all we need in this hour and in the days ahead. Heavenly Father, teach us to live lives of thanksgiving and trust, knowing that you are in charge. Give us your peace and heal our pain. We ask it this day in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 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/her face to shine upon you and give you peace – both today and forevermore. Amen.
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