Purpose of a Funeral or a Memorial Service
Funerals and memorial services have a long history in our Christian culture. People gather together after the death of a loved one for at least three reasons. These reasons may be expressed differently in eachservice, but they are essential to a Christian funeral or memorial service.
First, they come to remember and celebrate the person’s life. Every human being leaves some kind of legacy and it is highly appropriate for family and friends to remember the unique life and stories of the deceased. It is appropriate to have one, two or three people speak a short word of remembrance on behalf of family or friends.
Second, people gather to say good bye. This is often painful, but the public expression of sorrow often helps family and friends bring closure to the person remembered. The funeral or memorial service is one of the first steps in the healing process called grief.
Third, people gather to renew and strengthen their faith in God’s love expressed to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians we know that the grave is not the final word. Jesus and his promise of the resurrection give us the hope that someday all God’s children will be united around God’s heavenly throne.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26
St. Andrew's Funeral Handbook