Funeral Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Funeral in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Joshua 244:32</a>, the funeral for Joseph</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">2 Samuel 12:22-24</a>, mourning for David and Bathsheba&#39;s child</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Job 19:25-27</a>, Job says &quot;I know that my Redeemer lives&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 27:4</a>,&nbsp;&quot;One thing I ask</span><span style="font-size: 16px;">ed of the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span> all the days of my life.&quot;</span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 90:3-4</a>, we are turned back to dust</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">John 5:24-25</a>, the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 14:7-8</a>, if we live to the Lord, we die to the Lord</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 Thessalonians 4:13</a>, grieving with hope</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Revelation 21:3-4</a>, death will be no more</span></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><strong><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Funerals</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="heading-lg"><span class="body-copy">See also <a href="">Death</a></span></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="heading-sm"><strong>Hope in the Face of Death</strong></span></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">The picture throu<span class="body-copy">ghout Scripture is of hope in the face of death. However we commemorate the life of the deceased, we do so with an awareness of the hope of eternal life and the promise of the glorious resurrection. While David put off mourning after the death of his son (2 Sam. 12:22 - 23), Paul acknowledges that believers will grieve the loss of their loved ones, albeit in a way different from the rest of mankind (1 Thess. 4:13). The psalms acknowledge the frailty of human life (Ps. 90:3-4) and the hope of living in the presence of God (Ps. 27:4). The promises of the Old and New testaments alike confirm the faith</span>fulness of God to the covenant promises (Josh. 24:32) and the promised hope of eternal life, both individual (John 5:24 - 25) and cosmic (Rev. 21:3 - 4). </span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Funeral verses&nbsp;Memorial Service</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">Many peopl<span class="body-copy">e perceive the funeral as a negative emotional experience. Parishioners may say, &quot;I don&#39;t want a funeral. I want a memorial service.&quot; Or, &quot;I want a celebration of life, not a reminder of death!&quot; Within this, pastors should consider two opposite pulls. On the one hand, we should wonder what it is about our funerals that parishioners wish to avoid. Are we failing to preach the good news of eternal life? Then perhaps the push against &quot;funerals&quot; is somewhat warranted. On the other hand, we also recognize that contemporary culture is uncomfortable with death. In our attempts to avoid public grief, we can be tempte</span>d to avoid the reality of death that faces us. The funeral can and should be a time to gently and pastorally create space for public grief. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="heading-sm"><strong>The Valley of the Shadow of death</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">Ronald&nbsp;<span class="body-copy">Nydam, former professor of pastoral care at Calvin Theological Seminary, would speak of the movement of the funeral as following the valley of the shadow of death. In the funeral service, pastors walk with their parishioners into the darkness of death. We acknowledge the reality of pain and sorrow. We may mourn tragic circumstances surrounding the death. The funeral begins an upward climb, however, moving toward the resurrection and hope. While pastoral sensitivity may dictate a slower pace for moving toward hope, the Christian funeral must be a service of hope and good news.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Cremation?</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">As concerns about the amount of<span class="body-copy">space consumed by cemeteries come to the fore, cremation is becoming a more common practice. Some parishioners may express concern over whether this is acceptable Christian practice. 1 Corinthians 15:37 suggests that our earthly bodies are akin to a seed of our glorious resurrected bodies. While we know very little about our eternal bodies, we do know that God is capable of raising the imperis</span>hable from the perishable (1 Cor. 15:42), and we have nothing to suggest that the perishable body must be intact for this to be the case. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Differing Funeral Practices</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">Funerar<span class="body-copy">y practices vary widely from region to region and from tradition to tradition. A parishioner may be surprised to learn that in your congregation it is common practice for the family of the deceased to host a lunch after the funeral while someone else may be shocked that the lunch includes anything other than deli meat on buns. The sensitive pastor will be aware of these differences and should work</span> hard to come to understand local funerary practices. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">Not a Church Function</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;">In the Reform<span class="body-copy">ed tradition, funerals are not technically a function of the church. Pastors and the congregation are invited to participate in what is otherwise a family affair. In light of that, pastors can suggest features of the funeral, but should defer to the family&#39;s decisions. On viewing the body: &quot;It&#39;s important to attend funerals. It is important to view the body, they say, and to see it committed to earth or fire because u</span>nless you do that, the loved one dies for you again and again.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(Ann-Marie MacDonald, {{<em>Fall on Your Knees</em>}} [New York: Simon &amp; Schuster, 1996], 487)</span></span></p>