A time of reflection when you can’t attend a funeral
When someone you love dies, saying goodbye in some formal way is important. This is one of the reasons that throughout the generations we have gathered for funerals and memorial services. With the current restrictions on movement in place it may not be possible for everyone to attend a funeral. We offer this short act of worship to help you say your formal goodbyes whist in your home. Nothing is compulsory, do only what feels right and helpful. The words we offer are a mix of the funeral liturgy and original materials. Where you see the symbol N, we invite you to say the name of your loved one. We make some music suggestion but feel free to use what is appropriate. If you are using this online we offer links to the music suggestions via YouTube, just click the underlined link.
GATHERING IN GOD’S PRESENCE
Light a candle, maybe place it near a photo of N and take a moment to sit quietly.
You might like to listen to a piece of Music: (Suggestion Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone)
Some words of comfort
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3v22).
God says: “I will never leave you: I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13 v5).
Opening Prayer Read this prayer out loud
Loving God, I hold N before you ….
I thank you for the good times we shared together.
I hold before you the challenging times.
Be close to me, and to all those people who knew and loved N. May we know the peace of your presence today and in the days to come.
I know there are no words I can say at this moment to take away the pain. I come as I am knowing you bind us together in love; in this world and the next.
So, take this moment and help me know your presence with me, now and always. Amen
A TIME WITH GOD’S WORD
The Bible has a lot to say about the meaning of life and God’s command over death itself. We turn to scripture, as generations have done before us, that from them we might draw comfort and strength. Below are printed two of the most commonly used readings at a funeral. Read them aloud if this is helpful.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I 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 mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long. (Psalm 23)
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John Chapter 14)
You may also like to look at one or two of the following:
Ecclesiastes 3 v 1-14
John 6 v 35-40
Romans 8 v28,31-35,37-39
1 Corinthians 15 v 51-57
TIME TO REFLECT
Think about the readings – which words particularly speak to you?
The Gospels tell us that Jesus appeared to his disciples on Easter Sunday (three days after his death) and said to his friends: “Peace be with you”, and “Do not be afraid”.
What do you need to hear from God today?
Now take a few moments to think about the person who has died. If you are with someone else share your memories together.
What was special about them?
What was the best thing you did together?
When you think of the person who has died is there a song or a special place or time that comes to mind?
What would you like to say to N if they were here now?
What particularly would you like to thank God for about their life?
Take time to be still
You might like to listen to N’s favourite piece of music, hymn or worship song. Or you could listen to Gymnopedie No.1 by Satie
A time of prayer
Loving God, you tell us to look forward to a day when your kingdom shall come and your will be done; a time when there will be no more sorrow and death and when every tear will be wiped from our eyes.
Until that time comes, help us to find comfort in your love.
I commend N to you, grant them your eternal peace.
I pray for N’s family, friends, neighbours and colleagues and for each person who is so much poorer now N is no longer with us in the same way.
You might like to list people who you would like to pray for.
Support us all in the days ahead. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and
the glory, for ever and ever.
A TIME TO LEAVE THE ONE WE LOVE TO GOD’S LOVE AND CARE.
If you are able, read aloud:
Travel on N from this world, in the name of God the Father, who created you in love; in the name of Jesus Christ who sets you free from sin; in the name of the Holy Spirit who brings us all into new life. Rest in peace, in God’s love, now and forever. Amen.
You might like to listen to “In Paradisum” from Fauré’s Requiem
A closing prayer
Support me and all who loved N in the days ahead and give us the comfort you have promised, until the time comes when we can remember not just with sorrow but with joy.
Blow out the candle and spend a few minutes in the quiet
Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me, even though they die will live, and everyone who lives and believe in me will never die”.
Some materials from The Methodist Worship Book © TMCP
Original Materials by The Revd Paul WoodService