A Contemporary Funeral Service

 

ENTRANCE

GATHERING

Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restored our life. Christ will come again in glory. As in baptism Name put on Christ, so in Christ may Name be clothed with glory. Here and now, dear friends, we are God’s children. What we shall be has not yet been revealed; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Those who have this hope purify themselves as Christ is pure.

THE WORD OF GRACE

Jesus said, I am the resurrection and I am life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I hold the keys of hell and death. Because I live, you shall live also.

GREETING

Friends, we have gathered here to praise God and to witness to our faith as we celebrate the life of Name. We come together in grief, acknowledging our human loss. May God grant us grace, that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow hope, in death resurrection.

HYMN OR SONG

PRAYER

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God, who gave us birth, you are ever more ready to hear than we are to pray. You know our needs before we ask, and our ignorance in asking. Give to us now your grace, that as we shrink before the mystery of death, we may see the light of eternity. Speak to us once more your solemn message of life and of death. Help us to live as those who are prepared to die. And when our days here are accomplished, enable us to die as those who go forth to live, so that living or dying, our life may be in you, and that nothing in life or in death will be able to separate us from your great love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

or

Eternal God, we praise you for the great company of all those who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labor. We praise you for those dear to us whom we name in our hearts before you. Especially we praise you for Name, whom you have graciously received into your presence. To all of these, grant your peace. Let perpetual light shine upon them; and help us so to believe where we have not seen, that your presence may lead us through our years, and bring us at last with them into the joy of your home not made with hands but eternal in the heavens; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION AND PARDON

Holy God, before you our hearts are open, and from you no secrets are hidden. We bring to you now our shame and sorrow for our sins. We have forgotten that our life is from you and unto you. We have neither sought nor done your will. We have not been truthful in our hearts, in our speech, in our lives. We have not loved as we ought to love. Help us and heal us, raising us from our sins into a better life, that we may end our days in peace, trusting in your kindness unto the end; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, Christ who died for us, who rose for us, who reigns at God’s right hand and prays for us. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ and know that through faith in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

PSALM 130

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON

PSALM 23

NEW TESTAMENT LESSON

PSALM, CANTICLE, OR HYMN *

GOSPEL LESSON

SERMON

NAMING

The life and death of the deceased may be gathered up in the reading of a memorial or appropriate statement, or in other ways, by the pastor or others.

WITNESS

Pastor, family, friends, and members of the congregation may briefly voice their thankfulness to God for the grace they have received in the life of the deceased and their Christian faith and joy.

A poem or other reading may be read as a witness.

Signs of faith, hope, and love may be exchanged.

HYMN OR SONG

CREED OR AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

COMMENDATION

PRAYERS

God of us all, your love never ends. When all else fails, you still are God. We pray to you for one another in our need, and for’ all, anywhere, who mourn with us this day. To those who doubt, give light; to those who are weak, strength; to all who have sinned, mercy; to all who sorrow, your peace. Keep true in us the love with which we hold one another. In all our ways we trust you. And to you, with your Church on earth and in heaven, we offer honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

or

O God, all that you have given us is yours. As first you gave Name to us, now we give Name back to you. Receive Name into the arms of your mercy. Raise Name up with all your people. Receive us also, and raise us into a new life. Help us so to love and serve you in this world that we may enter into your joy in the world to come. Amen.

Or

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Name. Acknowledge we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive Name into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints of light. Amen.

The pastor may administer Holy Communion to all present who wish to share at the Lord’s table. Otherwise, the service continues as follows:

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

God of love, we thank you for all with which you have blessed us even to this day: for the gift of joy in days of health and strength and for the gifts of your abiding presence and promise in days of pain and grief. We praise you for home and friends, and for our baptism and place in your Church with all who have faithfully lived and died. Above all else we thank you for Jesus, who knew our griefs, who died our death and rose for our sake and who lives and prays for us. And as he taught us, so now we pray.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

HYMN

DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

or

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Or

Now may the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, according to the riches of God’s glory, grant you to be strengthened with might through God’s Spirit in your inner being, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Amen.

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