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In Sure and Certain Hope: Prayers and Readings for Funerals and Memorial Services

In Sure and Certain Hope: Prayers and Readings for Funerals and Memorial Services

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In Sure and Certain Hope: Prayers and Readings for Funerals and Memorial Services

Longueur:
145 pages
1 heure
Sortie:
Jan 25, 2013
ISBN:
9781848253865
Format:
Livre

Description

This wide-ranging collection of prayers, readings and alternative service outlines provides a complete liturgical and pastoral resource for a time when intensive personal support is needed. Here are forms of words for every stage in the process that follows a death, from the immediate aftermath to conducting a memorial service. Simple prayers and a
Sortie:
Jan 25, 2013
ISBN:
9781848253865
Format:
Livre

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In Sure and Certain Hope - Paul Sheppy

In Sure and Certain Hope

The Revd Paul Sheppy is a member of the Churches Funerals Group, which produced Funeral Services, and a trustee of the Joint Liturgical Group of Great Britain.

He is a Baptist Minister based in Reading and the author of Each Day, Each Night, also published by the Canterbury Press.

In Sure and Certain Hope

Liturgies, prayers and readings for funerals and memorials

Written and compiled by

Paul Sheppy

Copyright information

© in this compilation Paul Sheppy 2003

First published in 2003 by the Canterbury Press Norwich

(a publishing imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Limited,

a registered charity)

St Mary’s Works, St Mary’s Plain,

Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 3BH

www.scm-canterburypress.co.uk

Third impression 2009

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, Canterbury Press

The Author has asserted his right under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the Author of this Work

British Library Cataloguing in Publication data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Scripture quotations are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

ISBN 978 1 85311 514 1

Typeset by Regent Typesetting, London

Printed and bound by MPG Books, Bodmin, Cornwall

Contents

An Introduction

Christian Funeral Rites: A Theological Consideration

Prayers at (or immediately after) the Time of Death

Reception of the Body into Church

Prayers and Readings before a Funeral

A Funeral Service in Church

Appendix 1: Some Suggested Bible Readings

Appendix 2: Reflections and Prayers

Order for Burial or Cremation after a Funeral Service in Church

A Funeral Service for Use at a Cemetery or Crematorium

Returning Home

A Memorial Service

The Commemoration of the Dead on All Souls’ Day

Appendix: Suggested Bible Readings

Remembrance of Those who have Died: on the Anniversary of their Death

Affirmation of the Living

Readings and Reflections

Notes: Sources and Acknowledgements

An Introduction

This book is intended as a resource for those taking services connected with death, dying and bereavement. It offers a number of orders of service, suggestions for scripture readings and prayers (for use both generally and in special circumstances) and a number of other readings and reflections which a visitor may use as a ‘bridge’ in planning with families and friends for funeral or memorial services. It also includes a theological and pastoral commentary explaining in more detail the way in which the various services came to be structured.

What is provided may be followed closely or adapted for use, according to preference and customary practice. No one funeral is exactly the same as another – although the framework will normally be substantially similar. The aim, therefore, has been to offer guidance rather than to prescribe performance. Ministers and others are invited to be free in their use of what they find here. Obviously, many of those who take funerals have the service books of their own traditions. This book is offered as a collection of complementary and supplementary resources. Ministers should feel free to adopt and adapt what they find according to the particular circumstances in which they minister to the dying and the bereaved. Where Holy Communion is to be celebrated in the context of the funeral service, ministers should follow the forms provided by their own traditions.

Much of the work was undertaken when I was a member of the Joint Liturgical Group of Great Britain, and I am grateful to colleagues for the detailed comments they made while the work was in progress. My particular thanks should go to Bill Gabb, Kevin McGinnell and Nigel Uden, who saw the work in its initial stages and enabled me to eradicate all sorts of slips and infelicities. None of these friends, however, should be held to account for the final result.

In thirty years of ministry, I have sat with the dying and the bereaved and I have attempted to share with them in tears and laughter something of the hope that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ represent. Tears come naturally at times of death, but laughter does come too. Stories are told which may bring a smile, memories are kindled which may raise a laugh. Into those stories comes the story of Jesus who taught his disciples to weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh. His death redeems all death and the Christian observance of death is not simply a celebration of life that is past, but a reverent approach to judgement and a joyful hope of life eternal.

Paul Sheppy

Christian Funeral Rites: A Theological Consideration

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8.38–39)

Death is, in Christian understanding, both friend and foe. It is the doorway to life eternal and it is the wage paid by sin (Romans 6.23). Even when death comes as a friend to one who has suffered prolonged illness or catastrophic, irreversible injury, those who are left have no release from the pain of grief.

Death is consuming in its urgency; its advent leaves none unchanged. Other priorities are set aside, and attention is forced, like it or not, upon the immediacy of what has occurred.

The angry, the dazed, the relieved, the numb – all look for help; and when they seek that help from the Christian people of God, they expect to receive all the compassion that our humanity commands. God in Christ calls us to offer more. The Church’s funeral rites provide more than a dignified farewell to the deceased and quiet sympathy to the bereaved.

The Christian understanding of our creaturehood leads us to believe that life and death and resurrection are all in the hands of God. Life and death and resurrection are therefore theological concerns, and in Christian understanding must be linked with the life and death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

The funeral rites offered here take their stance from these primary beliefs. They relate each instance of human death to the death of Jesus. There is an evangelical dimension to the Christian funeral; it is the proclamation of Christ’s victory over death in which he binds the strength of death before plundering death of its spoils (cf. Mark 3.27). Christ’s death is an offering for all, making all death an offering to God. His death transforms what we naturally fear and resent. The pain of death and bereavement is not diminished by this, but it is transformed.

Nor is the call to the risen life issued to the dead alone. The bereaved, too, are called to newness of life. ‘Returning to normal’ is not a Christian option. The old normality can never be recovered, for God is making all things new.

The ministry of the Church at the funeral is therefore to proclaim the story of Christ, setting the deceased’s story within it, to speak of Christ’s death and this death, to speak of the resurrection, the light in the darkness. We minister best to the bereaved not by vague generalities, but by careful attention to the details that made up the life of the deceased. We must not ignore the ways in which grief comes, nor must we forget the word of forgiveness, which the deceased and bereaved alike need to speak

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