To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Funerals’ Category

Jerry’s Funeral Statement

Below is a somewhat unique document. Jerry Haglund who passed away to be with the Lord on August 13th 2007 wrote this so that it could be read at his funeral.  I have set it down exactly as Jerry wrote it.

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Some funerals are less sad than others! You may think that this is a strange statement to make, so let me explain what I mean.

Christians believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (as God incarnate) when He said,”Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Again “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have everlasting life.”John 3:15 and “For God so loved the world , that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   John 3:16

I believe that in June 1952, when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, I received the gift of eternal life. Further, I believe that at the moment that I died I went into the presence of God. Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, when he was writing to the Christians in Philippi said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Therefore my funeral is less sad for those present here today who are Christians, for they know that I am in the presence of the Lord . Many who conduct funeral services will, I believe, have a lot of explaining to do to God for deceiving people. To sum up their messages to their congregation is ‘rest assured that your loved one is now at peace and in the presence of the Lord.’ even though they may not have committed their lives to God, or prayed, or read the bible, or worshiped God , that somehow it will all be forgotten of God.

It is a fact of human nature that we are to accept the pleasant facts of life, but ignore the unpleasant ones. To sum up, there is a hell to be shunned and a heaven to be gained ; and heaven is not gained by good works, but by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal Saviour, believing that when he died on the cross it was able to pay the penalty for our sin. I do hope that all present here today, by faith, with assurance that they know their eternal destiny will be in heaven in the presence of God.

Weddings And Funerals Etc.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practise cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. The clear implication of Paul’s teaching here is that we should be not be underhand in any of our methods in seeking to advance the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mr Hinton (I have written about him here) took our wedding some twenty three years ago. I always remember him saying in anticipation of the wedding that we were inviting people to a wedding and not a gospel meeting. Now, I admire that attitude that determines upon making the gospel known at weddings and funerals, for example, but we should never forget the purpose of the occasion. Yes it may well be that people are in a situation where they can hear the gospel for one of the few times in their lives, but we should never forget the purpose of the occasion they are attending.

Those attending should know that they are at a funeral or a wedding and should not feel that a slight of hand has been pulled to use that occasion as a means of cornering them with the gospel.

Of course our Lord Jesus is most precious to us and we should want to make known the message of the Lord’s grace that focuses on Him. And we can do this sensitively and appropriately at both weddings and funerals. But let us not appear manipulative in doing this.

If people suspect what we are being deceitful then all the power that comes through a true God-honouring funeral or wedding conducted for the Lord’s glory can be lost because people suspect what we are up to.

This same principle applies in arranging other events such as evangelicalistic meals. If there is going to be a talk tell people beforehand.  So people know what they are coming to.

Funeral Statement

Jerry Haglund was a deacon at Feltham Evangelical Church. he died eight years ago today. This is what he wanted read at his funeral and indeed was read at his funeral.

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Some funerals are less sad than others! You may think that this is a strange statement to make, so let me explain what I mean.

Christians believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (as God incarnate) when He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Again, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:15 and “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

I believe that in June 1952, when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, I received the gift of eternal life. Further, I believe that at the moment that I died I went into the presence of God. Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, when he was writing to the Christians at Philippi said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Therefore my funeral is less sad for those present here today who are Christians, for they know that I am in the presence of the Lord. Many who conduct funeral services will, I believe, have a lot of explaining to do to God for deceiving people. To sum up their messages to their congregations is; ‘rest assured that your loved one is now at peace and in the presence of the Lord.’ even though they may not have committed their lives to God, or prayed, or read the Bible, or worshipped God, that somehow it will all be forgotten of God.

It is a fact of human nature that we are willing to accept the pleasant facts of life, but ignore the unpleasant ones. To sum up, there is a hell to be shunned, and a heaven to be gained; and heaven is not gained by good works, but by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s own personal Saviour, believing that the when he died on the cross it was to pay the penalty for our sin. I do hope that all present here today may, by faith, be able to say with assurance that they know their eternal destiny will be in heaven in the presence of God.

 

 

The order of funerals

What should be the order of the arrangements at a funeral? I believe that there is much to be said for having the burial / internment before the funeral service. Here are some observations:

  • All of the happenings at the funeral should be undertaken in the light of the great fact of the assurance of eternal life in Christ Jesus. If then one who has died is in Christ then they are promised their position eternally with the Lord and also to have resurrection bodies.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says: Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. There is sorrow at a funeral, but not like the world.
  • To have the coffin in the main service seems to engender sorrow predominating over the awareness of the joy of the resurrection.
  • To have “sown” (see 1 Cor. 15:42-44) the body in a committal service before the funeral service seems to be an appropriate action to take.
  • Once the burial / internment has finished the undertakers are relieved of their duties. This means that the length of the service does not have to be managed to fit-in with the undertakers’ schedule.
  • The service being at the church premises is normally at the location where the refreshments are served so it makes it far more practically sensible to have the service after the burial. Otherwise, you have everyone coming to the church, then everyone going to the burial (or crematorium) then everyone coming back again.

So my preference is to have the burial then the service then the refreshments. No doubt circumstances vary, but this would be my thought.

Eulogies

I am writing here about those resumes which are given of someone’s life at their funeral.

The giving of a eulogy is a valuable part of the grieving process for the bereaved. Through the eulogy, the person who was dear to them is being brought into mind and this can facilitate mourning and emotional grieving to take place. A funeral without an eulogy can lead to suppression of emotion which is not good for those who are grieving. Calling to mind the deceased encourages a healthy process of remembering the dear one and mourning their loss.

But what  should be said in a eulogy and who should give it?

As regards to who should give it, I suppose there is no clear answer to this. Those who are closest to the  deceased might find it too difficult an experience because of the emotion involved. Those who have no connection to the deceased giving it will mean that the presentation about the deceased’s life and character lacks authenticity. Sometimes the person leading the service may be the best person to do this, particularly if he knows the deceased. However, I suggest that someone who had personal knowledge of the deceased is best.

But what is to be said? I suggest that this is no place for a “warts and all” remembrance of the deceased. This is no place for the rehearsing of grudges and telling of the inadequacies of the loved one. David gives us a great pattern to follow in 2 Samuel 1:19-27. He has just received news of the passing of Saul and so what is he to say? Remember, Saul has been exceptionally nasty to him. He has abused him verbally and sought to kill him in the past. Consider then these words in that context.

Saul and Jonathan—
    in life they were loved and admired,
    and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
    they were stronger than lions.

“Daughters of Israel,
    weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
    who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

(2 Sam. 1:23-24)

What do we learn here then? Eulogies are to warm remembrances of the deceased. There should be a presentation of the good parts of their character and their life. Everybody may know that Uncle Charlie could be foul-mouthed, but is it really the time to bring this up at the funeral? Of course, this does not mean lying, but it does mean we are careful with what we say.

The giving of a good account of the life of the deceased encourages the grieving process. It means that the grieving process can be enhanced. However, to give a eulogy that opens up old wounds, or reminds you of how the deceased harmed you is not helpful.

So eulogies are good, but be careful what you put in them.

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