Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Funeral Service - Preparing in advance

At my age, with good luck, it may be decades before I have need of a funeral service for myself. But this past weekend after being among the mourners for a long-time member of our congregation, it occurred to me: I don't necessarily want somebody else picking the readings or hymns for the inevitable day. So, that much said:

  • For All The Saints
    Because of the beautiful picture of those of us leaving this world taking our place in heaven, and the grand finale of the Last Day. (The verses about the struggle of the current world could be omitted.)
  • Amazing Grace
    Because to many people, no Christian funeral is complete without this hymn
  • Go, My Children, With My Blessing
    Because religion is established in this world as a channel for God to bless people. The ancient priestly blessing was a sign of that purpose. And because Jaroslav Vajda could sure write a good hymn.

  • From I Kings 19: the still small voice, and the passing of the mantle to the successor
  • From I Corinthians 1: God chose the weak and foolish
  • From Matthew 5: Beatitudes (without the 'persecution' verse, unless it happened to apply to those times or my own death for some reason)

Psalm 100: "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving" -- since that's what I hope to be doing about that time.

Sermon: I'd really prefer there to be no sermon. I think simply the readings, psalm, and hymns should suffice.I may at some point write a few short comments about why I chose the readings, and I would rather it was left alone after that.

If there is any eulogy -- which may be left to the preference of the family -- let it start with Paul's comments on Christians being letters from God (2 Cor 3:3), and end with "if anyone boasts, let him boast in the Lord" (1 Cor 1:31, 2 Cor 10:17).

I may yet put together a proper order of service for the day, rather than just a few notes on the readings and songs. 

I hope this isn't too morbid for anyone. I'd be glad to hear anyone's thoughts about any uplifting funeral or memorial they had attended.


Martin LaBar said...

A good idea!

Howard said...

Interesting. For my wife's funeral in 2005, we commenced the service with Handel's 'I know that my redeemer liveth'. We sang "For all the saints" as one of the hymns, but the reading was 1 Corinthians 15 and a message on the secure hope of the resurrection.