Many thanks to all who prayed for the Lord's help during the recent funeral service for Brian Lee. I believe the Lord answered your requests and he was present to comfort all who who were grieving.
I've been reflecting on what makes for a good funeral service. These are such important events and I always want to do my part well. I'm always grateful to be asked to conduct a funeral because it's a wonderful open door for Christ-centered ministry. So, what makes for a good service?
A good funeral is Christ-centered. I aim to make the resurrection of Jesus Christ a major factor in the service. He died, but he also rose. He conquered sin and death. He is alive forever more. The basis for Christian hope is the living Christ. I want everyone to leave the funeral service with Jesus Christ - who lived, died, rose, and is coming again - front and center on their minds. I want them to know that Christ brings a crisis of decision to everyone. We must choose for or against him. We certainly cannot ignore him.
A good funeral service has clear communication. I write a fairly complete manuscript for each funeral service, which includes all the content from the introduction to the conclusion with everything in between. I write it all out because I want to be certain the language is clear and simple. I want everyone from every background to hear and understand what I'm talking about. I don't want to be vague, confusing, or unclear about life's most important issues.
A good funeral service is comforting. I always express sympathy for the family and friends who are experiencing loss and I do it several times in different ways during the service. Every element - the welcome, prayers, Bible-readings, preaching, conclusion - is designed to provide comfort, hope, strength and a way forward. The bottom line for me is this: God is the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our afflictions. He does this in the Scriptures. So, I read at least four passages, concluding with Psalm 23. I pray the Scriptures. Then, I teach on a Bible passage that I hope the Lord will use to bring some healing and hope to everyone. I want to answer the questions people might be asking.
These are the main elements of a good funeral service. Please pray for these to happen next time you hear I'm conducting a funeral service. Thank you.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." - Psalm 34:18