THE FUNERAL SERVICE: A SERVICE OF WITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION
Christians through the years have expressed what they believe about death, and life after death, through the care they have shown for their dead. Caring for the bodies of those we love is the human thing to do, in fact, tender care of the body is the last humane act toward a loved one we are given to do.
Our faith encourages us to accompany our dead all the way to the grave or the fire, caring for them tenderly, and giving them up to the mystery that lies beyond. We do this believing in the redemption that their baptism into Jesus’ death and resurrection promised.
(see Romans 6:3-7)
A Christian funeral service helps those who are alive to come to terms with the death of the person who has died. It does that in several ways:
- It holds before us the stark reality of death. While we try to forget our mortality, death reminds us that life is finite, and encourages us to live our lives well.
- It helps us to remember and to honour the person who has died, and in telling stories of their life, we are helped to come to terms with the fact that their life has ended.
- It holds before us the promises of God, the Christian belief in the resurrection, of life in Christ beyond this time and age.
- In a funeral service we commend the person who has died into the loving care of God.
To go deeper you might like to read DocByte_Funerals.
The Uniting Church in Australia’s National Working Group on Doctrine has now prepared discussion starters known as DocBytes. These two-page publications aim to encourage theological thinking on specific topics across the Uniting Church.