For none of us has life in himself, and none becomes his own master when he dies. For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord, and if we die, we die in the Lord. So, then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s possession.
(BCP p. 491)
We have a special name for a funeral. We call it “The Liturgy of the Resurrection.” While this may seem at first like a euphemism to help grieving people feel better, we truly believe in the statement of faith behind the name. Every funeral, every memorial service, every celebration of the life of a departed loved one is an opportunity for us to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and his promise that nothing — not even death — can separate us from his love. This is what we proclaim on the day when we remember a loved one with a special service in his or her honor. The words on page 507 of the Book of Common Prayer say it best:
The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.
The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, 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.”
This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.
Below you will find some documents that you can download, which will help you navigate either planning your own service (which can be a mighty help to those who will grieve your loss) or the service of a loved one. The clergy of St. Stephen’s is available at your convenience to walk with you during the difficult days following the loss of someone you love. Please know that we are here to support you.
Click here to download a booklet to help you make decisions as you consider your own funeral arrangements.
Click here to download a booklet to help you make decisions as you plan the funeral of a loved one.
Click here to download a form for planning a funeral at St. Stephen’s.