Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the tenth 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.
We Feel Helpless #10 For a Christian or person of faith
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 come before you with the sure knowledge that you are God and that you are thus the overseer of all things. Today we gather together to remember ________ and to pay him/her honor – to remember his/her life. You have given him/her into our world for these ___ years and he/she has worked and loved and laughed and learned among your people. For his/her life we give you thanks. For all that he/she has been and has done we ask that you will receive glory. Be in our midst today, giving comfort and joy at having known and loved this dear man/woman. Amen.
SCRIPTURE Psalm 90:1-6 “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn men back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, O sons of men.’ For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning – though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.” (NIV)
Psalm 116:1-9 “I love the LORD, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, save me!’ The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need, He saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. (NIV)
Romans 8:18-28 selections – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” “…in all 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. (NIV)
MEDITATION There is no other time in all of life when people feel so helpless as at death. It doesn't matter whether the one who has died is young or old, rich or poor – when death comes, there is nothing anyone can do. Left in the wake of death is massive confusion and longing and sorrow. Questions that are most often not even asked, remain unanswered. Why? What now? What if...? Where...? And they remain unanswered because there are no earthly answers to be had. Only God has the ultimate answer to death. That’s why at the time of the death of a loved one there is only one possibility for comfort and that is in Jesus Christ. Only He can turn the shadows of suffering into the glorious assurance of peace. Although we don’t know what death is all about, we do know that the human spirit was created to go on living throughout eternity. This body is nothing more than a house that the real person has lived in. It grows old and frail and eventually simply stops working. But the soul – the spirit – the real person – goes on. And life after death, according to the scriptures, will have none of the pain, sickness, sorrow, fear, or death of the earthly existence. At some time or another everyone has had the experience of being sick in the middle of the night and having that night drag on and on, seemingly forever and then finally give way to the morning sunlight.... In the darkness there seems to be no end but with the light we regain hope and perspective and, often, help. What seemed so hopeless a short time before, now has a new quality to it. There is hope! That’s often the way it is with death. Some of our days are way too long, the suffering way too severe, but eventually the light comes and that light is God. And in God is our hope and our peace and our healing and eternal life. When we trust in Jesus we can know for certain that the daylight will come. God is somehow able to take any crisis that we stumble upon and work it into His great mosaic of history and make it a part of something ultimately good and beautiful. I once heard someone suggest that throughout history God is weaving a giant tapestry. It is beautiful and has intricate designs everywhere. If we were to see it, it would be breathtaking. But our perspective of the tapestry is not the same as God’s. God sees what He is working on as He looks down on it from heaven, but we can only look up. And as we look up we see only the back side of His great work of art – and all we see are unconnected threads and stitches that seem to make no sense at all… But some day we will be allowed to see the face of the tapestry instead of the underside and it will thrill us with it’s beauty. The Christian believes in that wonderful, creative ability of God that can turn even death into glory… sadness into joy… pain into rejoicing… The Christian believes that death is not the last chapter of ones book of life – that it is simply the end of the introduction and that the real life begins at death.
[Insert Your Eulogy in this section]
There is a lot to remember about _________. He/she touched a lot of people. Of course ___(spouse)___ will miss him/her more than anyone else... Nearly ___ years of marriage provides a lot of memories and a lot of loss when it’s ended...but those good times will see her/her through and will bless him/her – and all of us – as we remember... God has not left us helpless in our time of sorrow. He has given us hope that one day we will go to be with Him and, with him, live forever with those we have loved on earth. In the days ahead, as you think of _______, whisper a prayer for those he/she loved who are grieving. If you have the opportunity, sit down and write a note of encouragement (notes are always deeply appreciated), or pick up the telephone and call… Jesus promised that those who mourn will be blessed. I’m not at all sure that meant in some ethereal way. I think it must have meant that friends and family and neighbors will gather around in wonderful supportive ways and truly be a blessing and a comfort. Be that blessing to _______’s family, won’t you? God grant us His peace.
ENDING SCRITPURE 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)
John 14:1-3 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
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 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, supporting and consoling his/her loved ones who shall miss him the most. Help them, at this time, to be drawn closer to one another and to you as they seek your peace and healing. Surround all of us with the sure experience of your presence in our lives, knowing that you are able to work all things together as we follow you. Thank you for your presence this day, O Lord. We need you. Be with ______’s family and give them comfort. Show them your graciousness and your power to heal. All in the name of Jesus, the 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 And now may the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace....
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