Making the final arrangements can be quite heartbreaking because of the sense of loss. To address this sadness, the deceased is given tribute by celebrating his or her life through funeral services.
What is a good funeral service? Is there a specified plan that must be followed to ensure that the service holds a deeper meaning to all? Some say that the service should be more personal.
The service should allow for the celebration of the deceased’s personality. Funeral services all have a general pattern that is usually followed. And based on this pattern, the service is tailor-fitted to the character of the one who passed away.
The service is actually a metaphor of life and death.The services are rich in symbolisms that actually help mourners deal with the grieving process. See how each part of the service symbolizes the life and times of the one who died.
Life Born into God’s Fold
The pastor meets the casket at the entrance of the church and ushers it in. The mourners follow inside.
This is the first part of the service that symbolizes man’s entry into God’s presence when he accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Bible verses are read, all relating to life and death. Some services will include songs during readings.
Welcomed into the Presence of God
The minister offers a prayer to mark the beginning of the service. There could be a song offered as tribute to the one who passed away.
Sometimes, instead of a song, some symbols are placed on the casket. In some churches, to symbolize God’s welcome, candles are lit ceremonially.
A prayer of forgiveness and emotional healing is offered as well. This helps the bereaved deal with guilt, loneliness and anger caused by the sudden loss.
This prayer also makes the congregation ready to listen to the pastor’s message.
The Readings that Celebrate Life
Readings are recited as each is accompanied by a song meaningful to the deceased and the family.
Traditionally, the readings (commonly from the Bible) will signify a stage in the life of man. The more modern funeral services will have short messages in between readings.
The minister’s message, typically, speaks of God’s love and salvation. The message will usually be regarding how the deceased lived his or her life. It should also help the mourners make sense of the loved one’s death.
The message should let the bereaved accept death as final and real. At the end of the sermon, the congregation must realize that life goes on.
Prayer of Hope
This prayer is about the hope of resurrection. It holds the promise of being together again in the afterlife.
This part of the service is a strong reminder to the mourners that life has ended but the memory of the person lives on.
The pastor offers a prayer of gratitude to God for giving the mourners time to share the deceased’s life when he was still alive.
This part emphasizes acceptance of death and life without the loved one who died.
A final prayer is offered before the casket is lowered into the ground. In the case of cremation, a curtain closes around the casket.
This part of the funeral services signals the finality of the deceased’s presence. This is the time when those left behind get to say their last goodbyes.
The burial signifies closure. This is the reason why families of those who do not have a body to bury hold a memorial service. The service that ends with a burial (or a semblance of it) provides a definite finish.
Each part of the service is very important to help those left behind through their grieving process.
Good funeral services are not just made meaningful because of the songs and the readings. The service should help people accept death and celebrate life.