Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the seventh 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 Purpose of Life #7 For a Person of Faith CALL Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; I Corinthians 2:9. – 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 dime to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to be born, and a time to die;... “But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, that is what God has prepared for those who love him.' (NIV)
INVOCATION Most gracious God: We humbly pray for you to make your presence felt among us and within us in this hour. We need courage to control our fears, and they are many in times like these. We are afraid of death even though we have faith. Not just _______’s death but of our own. We know our lives are so frail and that death comes sometimes without warning and sometimes followed by suffering and sometimes cloaked in mercy… But we fear all of these: the sudden surprise, the suffering, the being out of control… Help us during this time of memorial to build up fresh resources of faith and assurance. Give us courage and hope. Let __________’s spirit, who is now beyond fear, inspire us to live more bravely, trusting in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and in His victory over fear, sin and death. And Lord, give us comfort as we remember and recognize our loss… We pray, most sincerely, in Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.
SCRIPTURE Psalm 39: 4-7 LORD, show me when my life will end. Show me how many days I have left. Tell me how short my life will be. You have given me only a few days to live. My whole life doesn’t seem like anything to you. No man’s life lasts any longer than a breath. Selah [think about that] People are only shadows as they go here and there. They rush around, but it doesn’t mean anything. They pile up wealth, but they don’t know who will get it. “Lord, what can I look forward to now? You are the only hope I have. (NIRV)
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 We would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. for this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NIV)
MEDITATIONIn the last day or so, many things have been happening in your inner beings. You have begun to remember some of the good times you had with ________ and maybe some of the bad times too. You know that the memories you have are yours alone and, to a large extent, no one else can share them. They are exclusively yours. If you are like most people, you have been struck by the strangeness of death. The seeming to cease to exist. And you have probably realized that one day death will be victorious in your own body too, and that, too, is strange. In all of our lives, perhaps the most incomprehensible thought that crosses our minds has to be ‘what is life?’ Can it be that you and I were put here on this earth to live for a few years and then simply die – some people contributing massively to the lives of others on earth, but most of us just doing the best we can to survive? Mustn’t there be more to it than that? Philosophers have been debating and discussing and probing that idea for centuries. They can’t come up with anything that satisfies. Why are we here? Why are we gone so quickly? What is the purpose of life? Big questions. Bigger than most of us are willing or ready to ask, let alone have an answer for. About 1700 years ago a group of the world’s best thinkers got together to ask that very question and concluded that the answer must certainly have something to do with God. God created the entire universe, including men and women. Surely He had something in mind. But what could it be? They looked at the age-old ideas of heaven (where God supposedly dwells) and, after literally years of discussion, they concluded that our earthly lives have a very important purpose indeed. Life on earth is the final dress rehearsal for meeting God and for living throughout eternity. It is on earth that we get a feel for love and goodness and charity and peace. It is on earth that we practice faith (through going to church or praying or believing in the good even when bad seems to triumph). It is on earth that we get a touch of the awesome and the overwhelming and know that we are simply specks of dust in the grander scheme of things (we get this through gazing into the night skies at the billions of stars or pondering the depths and width of the oceans or seeing the birth of a newborn baby). They concluded that our purpose on earth is to get to the task of loving God and serving Him… Nothing more and nothing less. Certainly there is much more to life than just that – than just loving and serving God. Looking at __________’s life shows that clearly, but his/her life also shows his/her understanding of God’s purpose for his/her being…
[Insert Your Loved One's Eulogy Here]
_______ is gone now. All that he/she did during his/her lifetime was part of the preparation for what he/she is experiencing right now… meeting the eternal God and living eternally. As we think about life and death, we often have the impression that death ends life. It doesn’t. That is just an illusion. The body dies, but not the spirit. That was created for a purpose that is eternal. The body is the carriage in which we ride. It is the house in which we live. It is the perishable that contains the imperishable. Life is about living well. It is about creating wonderful memories, as ________ has in you. It is about service and love and faith… Death is about peace and true happiness and eternity. Have you ever wondered why a baby enters the world crying? It is because he/she has left the warmth and coziness of the womb for a bright and cold and harsh environment. But the crying stops pretty quickly because he finds that being able to stretch and move and see aren’t so bad after all. Then the baby grows for a few months and discovers that it can crawl – it falls and bumps its chin and cries again – but mobility is great and well worth it. Later on, tears flow and fears abound when school starts, when adolescence comes, when adulthood approaches, when maturity threatens…. But the tears are soon put aside for we learn quickly that the transition each time was into something far superior than what we had known so far. Death, I am convinced, is just like that. It is fearful for those going through it – nobody wants to. But once through that dark valley I believe we are surprised beyond measure at the wonderful life we encounter. In every way it is SO much better – bigger, brighter, more all-encompassing, there is more love there, more joy, more youth, more wisdom… and, of course, all of God. So go from this place knowing that ________ has prepared all his/her life for eternity and that the life everlasting is beyond anything we can comprehend in terms of its splendor.
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, whole 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)
Romans 8:35, 37-39: 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.
2 Corinthians 5:1-9: Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
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.
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 need to thank you for the precious gift of life. We understand that you have put us here for a purpose – to love and serve you. We know that life eternal is infinitely better than this one on earth. We know that _______’s life was in grand preparation for the next… but we are in pain. ________meant a lot to a lot of people. He/she will be missed…will be grieved… will be remembered. We thank you for the grief we experience this day. It is the sign of love which you have implanted in us for _______. And we thank you for the comfort you supply through family and friends in times like these. And we thank you so much for _______’s life. Give us your peace in the name of Christ Jesus.
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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