Let’s Talk About When I Die: Part 5 (My Funeral)

I am an adventurous person.  I like to try new things, to have fun, to enjoy life, and to see God’s beauty in the world all around me.  So, I desire to be cremated and my ashes divided up amongst little tin cans like these.  Everyone who comes to my funeral will be encouraged to take a little piece of me with them, and to spread my ashes doing something fun.  That way, everyone I know can have one last adventure with me.

I don’t want people moping over my body or making absurd comments like, “Look how natural she looks…”  (I mean, c’mon!  I’m dead!)  So, let the cremation be performed before any sort of “viewing”.  If people want something to gaze on to remember me by, let them bring photos and mementos from the time that we lived those memories.  Share stories.  Share happiness.  Share jokes and tall tales and exaggerations.  That is the best way to remember me.

And finally, this is the rough outline of my memorial service (it is a work in progress) [adapted from The United Methodist Book of Worship:  A Service of Death and Resurrection]

  • Gathering Song:  This Old House (By the Brian Setzer Orchestra)
  • Words of Welcome:  Nothing too long, too sad–Just thank everyone for coming out to share their memories
  • Opening Song:  Spirit in the Sky (Elton John’s version)
  • Words of Grace/Greeting:

    Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and I am life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I hold the keys of hell and death.  Because I live, you shall live also.”

    Friends, we have gathered here to praise God and to witness to our faith as we celebrate the life of Amanda Gayle Reed.  It is true that we gather here with grief in our hearts as we acknowledge our human loss.  But may God grant us grace, that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow we may find hope, and in death we may find resurrection.

  • Hymn:  We’ll Understand It Better By and By
  • Prayer:

    The Lord be with you.
    And also with you.
    Let us pray.

    God of all creation, of all that is and has been and will be, we praise you.  We praise you for the great company of all those who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labor.  We praise you for those we love so dearly whom you have given us in this life and whom we name before you now.  (Moment of Silence).  And we praise you for the life we shared with Amanda Gayle Reed, whom you have now so graciously received into your presence.  Shine your eternal light upon her and all those we hold dear.  Help us to believe that which we have not seen.  Guide us with your presence.  Lead us through all our years until we at last join those who have gone before us in the joy of your home.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray.  Amen.

  • Prayer of Confession and Pardon:

    Holy God, before you our hearts are open and from you no secrets are hidden.  Our sins have caused us shame and sorrow.  We have forgotten that you are the giver of all life.  We have ignored you.  We have refused to seek you.  And even when you made it clear to us, we refused to do your will.  We have not been truthful and honest in our hearts, our speech, and our lives.  And although you have loved us without condition, we have not loved one another.  But we know that you can help us.  You can heal us.  Raise us from our sins into a better life so that we might life the rest of our lives in peace with nothing but trust in your kindness.  Through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

    Who is in a position to condemn?  Only Christ, Christ who died for us, who rose for us, who reigns at God’s right hand and prays for us.  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Old Testament Reading:  Micah 6:6-8
  • Psalm 23 (In unison, KJV)
  • New Testament Reading:  Revelation 21:1-7
  • Music:  I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me)
  • Gospel Reading:  John 11:17-44
  • Letter from Me to My Loved Ones  (No, no, no… you have to wait ’til I’m gone before you get to hear it)
  • Music:  River of Dreams (Billy Joel)
  • Eulogy (Short, to the point, not too sappy)
  • Story Sharing–a time for remembering
  • Hymn:  Amazing Grace
  • The Apostle’s Creed
  • Commendation:  Prayer:

    God of us all, your love never ends.  When all else fails, you are still God.  We pray to you for one another in our need, and for all, anywhere, who mourn with us this day.  To those who doubt, give light;  to those who are weak, give strength; to all who have sinned, give mercy; to all who sorrow, give your peace.  Keep true in us the love with which we hold one another.  In all our ways we trust you.  And to you, with your Church on earth and in heaven, we offer honor and glory, now and for ever.  Amen.

    O God, all that you have given us is yours.  At first you gave Amanda Gayle Reed to us, now we give her back to you.

    Receive Amanda Gayle into the arms of your mercy.  Raise her up with all your people.  Receive us also, and raise us into a new life.  Help us so to love and serve you in this world that we may enter into your joy in the world to come.  Amen.

  • Prayer of Thanksgiving:

    God of love, we thank you for all with which you have blessed us:  For the gift of joy in days of health and strength and for the gifts of your abiding presence and promise in days of pain and grief.  We praise you for home and friends, for our baptism and for our place in your Church.  We celebrate you by remembering all who have faithfully lived and died in your care.  Above all else, we thank you for Jesus, who knew our griefs, who died our death and rose for our sake and who lives and prays for us.  And as he taught us, so now we pray:

  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Hymn:  Hymn of Promise
  • Dismissal with Blessing:

    The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.

  • Parting Hymn:  I’ll Fly Away

Other music for use:

  • Blackbird by The Beatles
  • Free Bird by Lynyrd Synyrd
  • Dream On by Aerosmith
  • We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel
  • Leningrad by Billy Joel
  • The Downeaster Alexa by Billy Joel
  • It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll to Me by Billy Joel
  • Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel
  • Levon by Elton John
  • Candle in the Wind by Elton John
  • Pretty much any and everything by Billy Joel

Other hymns for use:

  • Lord of the Dance
  • Blessed Assurance
  • Because He Lives
  • Let There Be Peace on Earth
  • What A Morning That Will Be
  • Wonderful Words of Life
  • Freely, Freely
  • Just As I Am
  • Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
  • Precious Lord, Take My Hand
  • How Firm A Foundation
  • Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
  • Stand by Me


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