How to Perform a Funeral pt.8

Matane cemetery

Matane cemetery (Photo credit: Bête à Bon-Dieu)

1. Meet With the Family.

2. Distill to One Best Trait/Quality.

3. Include Phsychological Cues.

4. Lead People to Christ/Hope.

5. Select a Text That Ties Best Trait to Christ and Eternal Life.

6. Teach About the New Heaven and New Earth.

7. Know the Basics.

8. Committal – Body and Breath.  Christ on the Cross.

When it comes to the final part of the Funeral service, the Committal can occur at the same place and time as the funeral, just at the end of the service, or it can occur at the graveside.  The basics remain the same, though the nuances will obviously change based upon location.

Keept it brief.  Texts should include the Fall, the Crucifixion and/or Paul’s discussion of Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  Psalm 23 should be used here if not in the Funeral service itself.  Spend no more than 5 minutes discussing the text that was chosen, and close with the Lord’s Prayer and/or Amazing Grace.  It is a nice touch to have each of the family members select a flower from the casket arrangement as they prepare to leave.  Through all of this part of the service, weave in the main concepts of the Committal.

The theology of the Committal comes down to the foundations of our faith: Creation, Fall, Salvation, Resurrection.  You will have already expounded upon these issues as you have felt appropriate in the Funeral service itself, however, it is helpful to view this part as a physical application of these truths.

A) Creation – God formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed his breath of life into Adam’s nostrils.  Body + Breath = Life.  The corporeal and the incorporeal, the physical and the spiritual.  The rest of the universe was created by the spoken word of God, but for humanity, he paused, shaped and breathed.  These two parts were made whole.

B) Fall – Sin enters the picture and defiles the image of God.  Death comes as God’s means of separating our spirits from our bodies, that we might be re-embodied at the last day.  This unnatural division of humanity is at once the great tragedy of life as we know it, and also the answer to our great tragedy.

C) Salvation – Christ on the Cross.  Jesus took on human flesh, and died on our behalf, saying, “into your hands, I commit my spirit.”  “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” covers the half of us that will remain in the ground – committed to the earth from whence it came.  Our spirits however are separated and are likewise committed into the Father’s hands, awaiting his good pleasure.

D) Resurrection – Death is an ending of the imperfect, and a waiting for the perfection that is to come.  Death is a victory for the believer who has finished the race, fought the fight and remained faithful to their Lord and Savior.  We mourn the passing of our loved ones, but not without hope.

Paul Harvey was famous for his two-part reporting, with the second half beginning with, “And now for the rest of the story.”  The Committal is all about awaiting the rest of The Story.

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