Monday, August 31, 2009

Christian Funerals

Roman Catholic liturgy defined my first funeral experience. Those memories spoke loudly while I watched Senator Kennedy's service on Saturday. I cried.

Strange, since there's not a lot about Mr. Kennedy's politics (or person) that I appreciated.

When I was 10 years old, my great aunt died. It made me feel grown up that I was old enough to attend her memorial mass.

It was at The Cathedral of Christ the King here in Atlanta.

There are not a lot of specifics that I remember, except about her husband (when he broke down and cried) and the incense.

Weird though,

that I didnt cry then.

Furthermore, having grown up (baptized and confirmed) in the Anglican-Episcopal church, I continue to have a strong appreciation for the ritual and splendor of high-church ceremonies.

After all, my Lord is the one and only true King:  Ruler of All.

But now I eschew too much pomp and circumstance and look for a simpler funeral. The components are a worship service, burial in a cemetary (no cremation), and a fellowship meal. Here's what I'm thinking today:

First, I want the gospel preached. The minister can start with John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent .

Second, I want the congregation to sing a lot. I'll make a list suggesting some hymns. My blogging buddy, Carol, has already started her selections. If possible, I'd love to have a soloist sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Third, I dont want much said about me.

I want the focus to be on Christ and what He did for me (and what He wants to do for the lost).

I want the message to be clear that when God looked down on me and changed my heart, that from that point onward whenever He glanced in my direction, He saw the finished work of His Precious Son.

So, dont talk about my deeds. Or lack thereof.

Talk about Christ.

Horatius Bonar, one of my favorite hymn writers. said it very well with these verses from Not What My Hands Have Done, sung to the tune Leominster.

PS You can talk about me at dinner
or in the circle.

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way about what is fitting at funerals. The modern Christian funeral often includes so much lauding of the deceased, you don't get to hear much about the grace of God. I used to tell my family a lot, that I did not want to be talked about at my funeral--yes, afterward at the dinner or whatever would be o.k. Now that I am Orthodox I don't have to worry about that.