Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the second 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.
Why We Gather #2
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;....
Psalm 27:1, 14 – 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? Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait, I say, for the LORD! (NIV)
INVOCATION Lord, today we gather together to pay a special tribute to one who has lived and loved and served and touched others for many years. All that _________ gave to life he/she gave fully and freely and with joy. He/she was a man/woman who worked hard and used the resources you gave to him/her to benefit the his/her world. We thank you for his/her life today and for the memories he/she leaves behind in such a powerful way. We ask your presence in our midst today, giving comfort and hope even now as we experience the pain of loss. Thank you for being with us, O Lord. We need your strength and love and we know that you give those freely. Amen.
SCRIPTURE Ecclesiastes 8:6,7 – [The scriptures go on to say…] “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 [what the future holds?”....(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.
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/her temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his/her dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his/her 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. (NIV)
I Corinthians 15:12-26 – Now if this is what we proclaim, that Christ was raised from the dead, how can some 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 Have you ever thought about just why we gather at the funeral home when a loved one dies? There is a vague notion that the one you loved is looking on and enjoying the tribute to his/her life that we bring. Yet, whether that is true or not, that is not the reason we gather. Nor do we want to be here just to go through some hollow ritual of death – something that is simply “done” when someone dies. Rather, I think, there are some very good reasons for being together today... First, we have come here to remember. We have come here to remember a man/woman who has richly blessed your lives. Memories always comfort us when we are lonely and give us a sense of security and hope. Today – together – we claim the memory of _________’s investment in our lives. Over the years he/she spent time with you. He/she invested his/her energies. He/she thought about you and perhaps even worried about some of you and whispered a prayer on your behalf... His/her life, as you knew it, influenced in greater or lesser ways your own life and his/her input into your lives will go on long after today... It is a fact that as we walk and talk and interact with people, we are shaped by them....by their ideas, by their perspectives, by their drive, and by their possibilities.... They rub off on us and we on them. The good in one person can easily become the good in another – and often does. Some of you here today can honestly say that some of the good in your life is because of _________’s good. It is important to recognize the impact of his/her life on your own. That is why you sit here today – to “remember” and to give thanks and to realize a very real loss.... Sometimes the word “mentor” is used to describe someone who teaches us or is a powerful example to us. ________ may or may not have been a formal “mentor” in your life, but most certainly, if you knew him/her, some of him/her is in who you are.
There is a second reason why we have come together today. We are here to offer comfort and support to one another. The work of grief is never an easy task because it has so many faces. Pain comes in many forms. It doesn't matter if one has suddenly died or if death is a great mercy after a lengthy illness. When it comes, there is pain attached to it for those who remain. For some there are tears. For others there in an internal sorrow that may not show on the outside. Still others may feel almost nothing – death makes them spiritually numb… Jesus once said, “Blessed are those who mourn: for they shall be comforted.” I don’t think He was talking about some super-spiritual comfort raining down from heaven. He is talking about the fact that, when we mourn, people gather around us for encouragement and support and to give us hope – from family and friends and neighbors who reach out and refuse to let us suffer alone. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…” Only God knows the suffering that only you can feel. We each experience it a bit differently. We gather to let one another know that, even though we don’t know exactly how you feel – how you experience loss – we each feel it in some way and that, as much as possible, we are with you and want to let you know that we understand what you are going through because of our own experience and that, together, we will get through it...
[Insert Your Eulogy Here]
There is one other reason we gather at times like this. That is to claim our hope. We believe that God is a God of grace and that those who die in Christ are cared for for eternity. That hope is not some kind of fantasy. It is based on the fact that Jesus himself demonstrated that death is not final – that there is life after death so we need not despair as those without hope – without faith. If there is not hope – if there is only the grave – then we must gather here with the deepest kind of grief, for all that was is no more and the loss it total. But death is a passage from one life to another and those who believe have confidence that God will, as the scriptures say, wipe away every tear from their eyes...that there will be no more suffering, sickness, pain, nor death. That is part of the good news that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. _________had plenty of those – pain, suffering, tears and fears… From Jesus' resurrection, hope comes. Death is not the same as it once was. Now there is life forever if we simply believe.... So – we gather to remember – to remember _______ and what “we” have become because of his/her touch in our lives and to think about what we will yet become because of his/her influence. We gather to support one another in love and to silently say, “You are not alone”. And we gather to recognize the hope available to every one who believes – a hope that gives strength to face whatever lies ahead in our lives through the work of Jesus in us. You will miss _______. But his/her life goes on – in your memories, in your conversation, in the person you are yet becoming,... and in eternity. One day Jesus was walking and talking with a woman and he 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?” [I imagine she thought about that for a moment before answering, then she said to him, “Yes, Lord. I believe.” He says the same to us today – when we believe, then we need never truly die. Our lives, centered in Him, will go on in heaven forever.
Psalm 43 – “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].”
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)
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 God, without hope we could not exist. Life would be meaningless and filled with despair. But you have given us hope that takes us through the crisis' and the sorrows in our lives. May you be praised forever. Would you grant your peace to those here today whose hearts are heavy with loss. Bring comfort into their lives and help them to uphold one another that you might be pleased. Thank you for the life of _________ and for the ways he/she has touched so many. Enjoy him now forever.
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 Now may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus in the knowledge and love of God, and may the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit remain with you always. Amen. – Philippians 4:7
The Eulogy Writers 4100 Old Dominion Dr. West Bloomfield, MI 48323