In a world experiencing unprecedented disasters, it is wise for all church leaders to be able to step in and conduct a funeral service should the emergency arise. I trust that these Notes will prove useful at such a time. As you know every funeral service is unique; so there are no hard and fast rules as to how a funeral service should be conducted. Nevertheless these Notes will give you some idea as to the Order of Service I use.
This should be a favorite of the deceased or of the bereaved family; and, if possible, one that is also known by the audience.
3. Bible Readings
Listed below are a few examples I have used in the past. Choose one or more or even your own favorite.
- Psalm 23 Quoted in full at the end of this file.
- John 11:21: Then said Martha unto YAHUSHUA, Master, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of YaHuWaH will give it thee.
23: YAHUSHUA saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24: Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25: YAHUSHUA said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27: She saith unto Him, Yea, Master: I believe that thou art the Messiah, the Son of YaHuWaH , which should come into the world.
- Luke 8: 41: And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at YAHUSHUA's feet, and besought Him that he would come into his house:
42: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying……
49: While He yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.
50: But when YAHUSHUA heard it, He answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
51: And when He came into the house, He suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.
52: And all wept, and bewailed her: but He said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
53: And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
54: And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
55: And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and He commanded to give her meat.
56: And her parents were astonished: but He charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
- John 14: 1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in YaHuWaH, believe also in Me.
2: In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
- Revelation 21: 1: And I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth: for the first Heaven and the first Earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from YaHuWaH out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of YaHuWaH is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and YaHuWaH Himself shall be with them, and be their Elohim.
4: And YaHuWaH shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5: And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6: And He said unto me, It is done. I am Aleph and Tav, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be My son.
- Isaiah 57: 1: The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
2: He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
- Job 19: 25: For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the Earth:
26: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see Elohim:
27: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
- Friends / Neighbors / Work associates / Acquaintances of the deceased; mentioning their names if you know them.
- Relatives: Naming each relative in turn.
- In laws: if still alive
- Parents: if still alive
- Sons / Daughters / Nephews / Nieces / Cousins etc.
- Last but not least: Husband / Wife
5. Recall Notable Events
Before the funeral service collect stories, sayings and details of memorable events involving the deceased. Then make a real effort at the service to recount those treasured memories. For example:
- She was admired and loved by all: kind / caring / wise / forthright / elegant.
- She touched the hearts of everyone she met
- He/She had many interests: (List them) Was never happier when he was out walking on the hills, playing golf, cycling, playing music etc.
- In a world where most people put their own rights in the forefront; he thought only of his responsibilities and duty.
- He was a tireless worker, lenient with others, ruthless with himself. High moral standards. Always grateful for what you did for him.
- I remember her/his words of wisdom. Quote one or two.
- We'll miss her/him - badly!
If he/she had a sense of humor, recall amusing incidents. Do not be afraid of making the audience smile or even laugh. A funeral, bear in mind, is not journey's end. It's simply the end of the journey on this section of the Highway of Life.
6. Sermon... Death is Simply a Sleep
Speak on Scriptures such as those listed below. Impress on your audience the reality of the resurrection. The Christian faith is founded on the fact that YAHUSHUA died for our sins and rose from the grave! And that all who believe on him will also rise from their graves and live for all time! These are absolute facts. Preach them!
- They 'all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.(Luke 8:49-56)
- Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. (John 11:1-44)
- I am the resurrection and the life. he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
- YaHuWaH shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev.21:1-4)
No matter what else you may forget, do not forget to preach about the Resurrection; that YAHUSHUA is the resurrection and the life and that all who believe on him, even though they be dead, will rise from their graves to live again. This fact must be the foundation of your sermon because it is the Blessed Hope. If you do not preach it, all your other thoughts and words, however worthy, will not give the bereaved the comfort - Truth alone can give.
7. Closing Hymn
8. Closing Prayer
Invitation to guests to come back to the home - or hotel for refreshments (if applicable).
At the Graveside
2. Bible Reading
Words such as the following may be used before lowering the coffin:
- 'And now we commit the body of our beloved (Name Here) to the grave,
- To rest in peace till the resurrection of the dead at our Savior's return to Earth.
- When this corruptible shall put on incorruption.
And this mortal shall put on immortality.
Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?
As the coffin is lowered into the grave, read a short portion of Scripture.
4. Reading... Psalm 23
- YaHuWaH is my shepherd; I shall not want.
- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
- He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake.
- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
- Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over
- Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of YaHuWaH for ever.
5. Closing Prayer