Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funeral planning

It might sound a bit morbid, but one of my favorite parts of being a pastor is officiating at funerals. It is a sad time, but funerals are among the times the Church is best the Church. We proclaim Christ crucified and risen. Now is the time we comfort each other in our grief, to mourn, to sing, to pray, to hope. There are hugs and food, and tears and prayers. We bring casseroles and condolences. We encounter the God who loves our loved one and who loves us.

Over two years ago, Amazing Grace had a series of adult forums about death and dying. A hospice chaplain, a geriatric physician, and I led discussion about end-of-life issues. I focused on the liturgical aspects of a funeral. From that discussion arose a desire to have some sort of worksheet that people could fill out now to think about what their funeral should be like, rather than waiting until their family members are sitting in some mortuary office wondering, “What was Grandma’s favorite hymn?” or “Where was that passage from Habakkuk that always gave Uncle Jack hope?” After two years of procrastination, I have finally put it together. It has been posted online (

As Christian people, we trust in God’s promises of resurrection hope. Planning a funeral is a chance to reflect on how your life proclaims what God is doing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Pastor Paul. You are truly a special child of God. You do not seek compliments but I feel I must whenever I feel moved to do so. Possibly because I have recently been thru the sessions on Life and Loss and been through
    a real life event that this transmission is so meaningful to me. And is so sincere on your part. And the message is so very true, so very life affirming, so real. Again, I say Thank You.