Funeral and Memorial services are times for comfort and for remembrances of the one you loved and lost. The following is the fourth 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.
Years Ago And Far Away #4 (Designed for a funeral where minimal information is known about the deceased or only a brief eulogy is available.)
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;....
INVOCATION O Lord, you know the length of days assigned to each one of us and you know how we have used them – to bring love and joy into the world, to lighten the burdens of others, to encourage and up build... On this day we trust your great knowledge of ____________ and your wisdom and goodness to usher him/her into the eternal kingdom. Over the years he/she has touched many lives – may those times be a credit to your kingdom and ultimately bring you glory. For his/her life we give you thanks today. We thank you for the many years that he/she has lived and worked and brought joy to the world....In his/her death we recognize that our world is at loss. Bless us in these moments as we pay tribute to his/her life and as we remember...Amen.
SCRIPTURE Ecclesiastes 8:6,7 – The scriptures continue: “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?”....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) 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)
Matthew 11:27-30 – Jesus said, “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
1 Corinthians 15:12-26 – But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his/her own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his/her enemies under his/her feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (NIV)
MEDITATION ___ years ago, far from this place, a baby was born. His/her parents had no inkling as to what would become of his/her life. They weren't wealthy nor were they necessarily poor – it didn’t matter. They were just parents with all the hopes and fears and questions about the future that parents have in every generation for their children. The years came and swiftly passed by and the young boy/girl eventually became a young man/woman and soon an adult in his/her own right. He/she married and had children and eventually ___ grandchildren and ultimately ___ great-grandchildren... He/she had perhaps seen green hills and mountains and oceans in his/her lifetime... His/her younger days were nothing at all like those of today. He/she rode back then on horses mostly – they did the bulk of the work in that world... Back then the air was pure and the sky was the limit as far as ones potential was concerned. There were fanciful dreams of walking on the moon – no one actually expected that such a thing would ever happen. He/she would watch the birds fly through the sky, flitting from tree to tree – flying to warmer climates in the winter, then returning with the spring – apparently free from the force of gravity that holds us so firmly to the ground. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to fly? Another dream, surely. The world in those days was filled with dreamers and few of them realized that dreams can and do come true. People believed that Gods world was certainly a wonderful place but that He had limited man... there were boundaries beyond which he simply could not go. But in those early years of _____’s life there was war too. People hurting one another – trying to enslave – trying to rule. In ______’s lifetime he/she saw too much of that... But he/she knew love too. His/her dear wife/husband…
[Insert Your Eulogy Here - because this format elicits memories in the listeners mind, only a short eulogy is necesary]
___ years makes a lot of memories. We could go on and talk for a long time about some of those: his/her way with children, his/her various jobs and the stories he/she would tell. We could talk of personality – laughter and happiness and memories now that he/she is gone. Think about some of those – go back beyond these last days and think about some of the wonderful memories you have of ________. Your relationship with him was different than anyone else’s. Think about the talks you had – the long discussions and the kidding around – the teasing… Think about some of the disagreements that were always under-girded with a genuine respect and love. Think about the things you did together and some of his/her special ways and his/her stories and his/her laughter. Remember the feelings of love you have always had for him and the pride to say that he/she was your father or grandfather or great-grandfather ...or friend. Memories are the greatest inheritance any person can leave to his/her loved ones. They last life-times and give pleasure beyond can be measured. Think about these and treasure them. Our own lives are filled with our own experiences, our own memories – the memories we create for others – filled with faith and good works – doubts and fears. Along with thinking about your relationship and memories of _____, think about your own life. God has put you here for a purpose – to love Him – to serve his/her creation – to be his/her family. The scriptures we read a moment ago tell us that there is a time for everything. Now is the time for examination of what life is all about – what it means, how to cope, how to live, what to believe... And they tell us of Christ and the hope of everlasting life as we trust in him. Gods love is something that we cannot comprehend. It is full and complete and thorough. He wants the very best for our lives. He wants us to see life and death as part of the wonderful process that He initiated and wants us to understand that this life is only the beginning – there is MUCH more to come – and in the next segment there will be no more sickness or suffering or sorrow or death. And this comes because of our Lord Jesus Christ and faith in Him.... And when we have that kind of understanding about life and death we can see death as a beautiful thing... ______ 's life was one which touched a lot of people in his/her ___ years. Our own lives will continue to touch others in positive or destructive ways all of our days as well. Let us follow the example that has been set by our Lord and live lives of faith and love. Now _____ is gone – Let the memories of his/her life bring joy and pleasure into your own lives...Talk about him often and remember – The Bible teaches – and Jesus demonstrated – that death is not final. It is the gateway to something more permanent and real than any of us have ever experienced or even imagined. The grave is not to be feared but to be found awe inspiring. Victor Hugo, the great author, wrote, “For half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose and in verse; history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and song. I have tried all. But I feel I have not said the thousandth part of what is in me. When I go down to the grave I can say, like many others, ‘I have finished my day's work.’ But I can not say, ‘I have finished my life.’ My day's work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes in the twilight, and opens in the dawn.” So for _____ , the book is ended...but the story has just begun.... _____ has come to the sunset of life. Each sunset in our world is, somewhere else, a sunrise – not later, not someday, but at the same instant. All of our doubts and sadness will become, ultimately, the joy and wonder of a new day.
ENDING SCRIPTURES John 11:25,26 – Jesus [was walking with a woman one day 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?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I believe.” (NIV)
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 Icreated for my glory, whom I formed and made...[I will be with him]. (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)
ENDING PRAYER We thank you this day, O Lord, for ____’s life. Over the course of his/her ____ years he/she has touched so many people. His/her life is remembered by those who have gathered here to say a final farewell and we ask that their minds and hearts would be comforted and healed. You are the great lover of all your children. You are the healer of all who hurt. You are the one in whom we trust this day and throughout eternity. Be near us and give us your peace.
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 God who watches over our lives and who guides our paths and numbers our days, give us strength and hope in each day that we live. Amen.
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