Although some aspects of a Christian funeral vary, depending on denomination, there are traditions that many services follow prior to burial or cremation. If you’re planning a Christian funeral service for yourself or a loved one, you may want to familiarize yourself with the following:
The Gathering and Readings
A service is held about a week after death in a church or crematorium. The service is opened with a scripture reading from a church leader. After, a psalm from the bible is read which is often Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd. Verses from both the New and Old Testament may also be read.
Sermon and Personal Readings
The church leader then speaks about the deceased’s life and his or her role in the church. A reading of a poem or bible passage by a family member may also follow the sermon.
Prayers and Time for Reflection
Several prayers follow the sermon, including prayers of thanksgiving, readiness for death, and penitence. After these prayers, a solemn time for reflection follows so that the congregation may take a moment to think about or pray on behalf of the deceased.
Commendation and Farewell
The service leader then offers words to commend the person to the mercy of God and leads in another prayer regarding entrusting the soul of the deceased to God. These two actions serve as the farewell before the coffin is lowered or sent for cremation.
During committal, the coffin is lowered into the grave or the curtains are closed around a coffin about to be transported for cremation. It is a tradition at burials for loved ones to toss handfuls of soil, perhaps taken from a piece of earth that holds some significance to the deceased, onto the coffin. These are the basic elements of a Christian service. Hymn selections may also be sung between certain parts of the ceremony.
Abel Funeral Services is a full-service funeral home that provides information and guidance when planning a loved one’s burial, memorial, or cremation. Call us at (602) 442-7747 and let us help you memorialize your loved one.