Funerals

A friend posted this about a funeral of his friend, where the card handed out contained these beautiful words:
When I have come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little – but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me – but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take,
And each must go it alone.
It’s all part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And lose your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me – but let me go.”
(RIP, Daniel (Paddy) O’Rourke)

Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hopes that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day.”
(Source: Epitaph for Joy Gresham Davidman, beloved wife of C.S. Lewis)

Each birth causes us to wonder
where the spark of life comes from.
Every death makes us wonder
what of that life survives.
What we have done, and who we have been,
remains part of the wider universe long after our physical life has ended.

In the letting go
In the letting go we find life:
For deeper than the striving is the flowing,
Deeper than the searching is the knowing
And deeper than the grieving is the mystery
In which darkness and light are one.

Through the letting go we find life:
For greater than the owning is the sharing,
Greater than competing is belonging
And greater than our species is the Cosmos
In which all of the parts are one.
(Text and Music © William Livingstone Wallace. Sound file here.)

I hear
the love of those
who have loved me
echo in me.
All the notes of my song
sing over theirs,
the only kind of beauty.
The song does not die.
May I live
with love and mercy
for it will echo
long after.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

On grief
God, I’m sitting in a deep well a grief.
I hear the noise and movement from life outside of the painful bubble in which I currently abide. I wish that I could be with those carrying on the everyday-ness of life.
But right now, God, it’s you and me in this space of mourning. Far away from the normalcy I know, we sit together.
One of these days, you will help me reach the top of the well. But right now we curl up in the shadows of this abyss. And for that sliver of light, I am grateful. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Michelle L. Torigian, RevGalBlogPals)

Our departed loved ones
The dead are not distant or absent. They are alongside us. When we lose someone to death, we lose their physical image and presence, they slip out of visible form into invisible presence. This alteration of form is the reason we cannot see the dead. But because we cannot see them does not mean that they are not there. Transfigured into eternal form, the dead cannot reverse the journey and even for one second re-enter their old form to linger with us a while. Though they cannot reappear, they continue to be near us and part of the healing of grief is the refinement of our hearts whereby we come to sense their loving nearness. When we ourselves enter the eternal world and come to see our lives on earth in full view, we may be surprised at the immense assistance and support with which our departed loved ones have accompanied every moment of our lives. In their new, transfigured presence their compassion, understanding and love take on a divine depth, enabling them to become secret angels guiding and sheltering the unfolding of our destiny.
(Source: John O’Donohue, from Beauty)

Resources: Various
Funeral-Service-for-an-Inclusive-Community.Rob Stoner

Funerals.NZ

Funerals.UCA.THE_FUNERAL_SERVICE

Funerals.WilliamWallace liturgy

Farewell words (various resources and liturgies)

Poetry for a funeral

Music
Of course it’s best to choose music special to the person ahead of time. Here are some further suggestions:
When the shadow of death (can be sung as a solo)
Through the rivers of our tears (for a child’s funeral)
May our friend. (STS1)
For all Christ’s friends. (STS1)
Though the earthly life. (Can be a solo with response)(STS2)
Through the love of God our Father. (STS2)
Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011, Vol 2 2014 World Library Publications

For further thought: How to let life’s pain make your heart soft instead of hard by Benjamin Corey.

A video of the funeral of Dr Gregor Ramsey, Pilgrim Uniting Church (11 May 2018)

 

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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