In a world experiencing unprecedented disasters, it is wise for all church leaders to be able to step in and conduct a funeral service should the emergency arise. I trust that these Notes will prove useful at such a time. As you know every funeral service is unique; so there are no hard and fast rules as to how a funeral service should be conducted. Nevertheless these Notes will give you some idea as to the Order of Service I use in Scotland.
1. HYMN: This should be a favourite of the deceased or of the bereaved family; and, if possible, one that is also known by the audience.
3. BIBLE READING/S: Listed below are a few examples I have used
in the past. Choose one or more or even your own favourite.
- Psalm 23 Quoted in full at the end of this file.
- John 11:21: Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord,
if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22: But I know,
that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give
23: Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24: Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in
the resurrection at the last day.
25: Jesus said unto her, I
am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though
he were dead, yet shall he live:
26: And whosoever liveth
and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ,
the Son of God, which should come into the world.
- Luke 8: 41: And, behold, there came a man named
Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down
at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:
42: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and
she lay a dying
49: While he yet spake, there cometh
one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy
daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.
50: But when Jesus heard
it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall
be made whole.
51: And when he came into the house, he suffered
no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father
and the mother of the maiden.
52: And all wept, and bewailed her:
but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called,
saying, Maid, arise.
55: And her spirit came again, and she arose
straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
56: And her parents
were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no
man what was done.
- John 14: 1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
- I Thess.4: 13: But I would not have you to be ignorant,
brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope.
14: For if we believe that
Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus
will God bring with him.
15: For this we say unto you by the word
of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming
of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16: For the
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the
dead in Christ shall rise first:
17: Then we which are alive
and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the
18: Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
- Revelation 21: 1: And I saw a new heaven and a new
earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
and there was no more sea.
2: And I John saw the holy city, new
Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride
adorned for her husband.
3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven
saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will
dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself
shall be with them, and be their God.
4: And God shall wipe away
all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
5: And he that sat
upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said
unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain
of the water of life freely.
7: He that overcometh shall inherit
all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
- Isaiah 57: 1: The righteous perisheth, and no man
layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering
that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one
walking in his uprightness.
- Job 19: 25: For I know that my redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh
shall I see God:
27: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes
shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within
- Friends / Neighbours / Work associates / Acquaintances
of the deceased; mentioning their names if you know them.
- Relatives: Naming each relative in turn.
- In laws: if still alive
- Parents: if still alive
- Sons / Daughters / Nephews / Nieces / Cousins etc.
- Last but not least: Husband / Wife
5. RECALL NOTABLE EVENTS
Before the funeral service collect stories, sayings and
details of memorable events involving the deceased. Then make
a real effort at the service to recount those treasured memories.
- She was admired and loved by all:   kind / caring / wise
/ forthright / elegant.
- She touched the hearts of everyone she met
- He/She had many interests: (List them) Was never happier when he was out walking on the hills, playing golf, cycling, playing music etc.
- In a world where most people put their own rights in the forefront; he thought only of his responsibilities and duty.
- He was a tireless worker, lenient with others, ruthless with himself. High moral standards. Always grateful for what you did for him.
- I remember her/his words of wisdom. Quote one or two.
- We'll miss her/him - badly!
If he/she had a sense of humour, recall amusing incidents.
Do not be afraid of making the audience smile or even laugh.
A funeral, bear in mind, is not journey's end. It's simply the
end of the journey on this section of the Highway of Life.
6. SERMON ... DEATH IS SIMPLY A SLEEP
Speak on Scriptures such as those listed below. Impress on your audience the reality of the resurrection. The Christian faith is founded on the fact that Jesus (Yeshua) died for our sins and rose from the grave! And that all who believe on him will also rise from their graves and live for all time! These are absolute facts. Preach them!
- They 'all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not;
she is not dead, but sleepeth.(Luke 8:49-56)
- Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake
him out of sleep. (John 11:1-44)
- I am the resurrection and the life. he that believeth in
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
- God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there
shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall
there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev.21:1-4)
The Apostle Paul writes further in:
No matter what else you may forget, do not forget to preach about the Resurrection; that Jesus(Yeshua)is the resurrection and the life and that all who believe on him, even though they be dead, will rise from their graves to live again. This fact must be the foundation of your sermon because it is the Blessed Hope. If you do not preach it, all your other thoughts and words, however worthy, will not give the bereaved the comfort - Truth alone can give.
| 1 Cor.15:
||51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed,|
52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
53: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this
mortal must put on immortality.
54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought
to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law
57: But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ.
58: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know
that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
7. CLOSING HYMN
8. CLOSING PRAYER
9. INVITATION to guests to come back to the home - or hotel
for refreshments (if applicable).
AT THE GRAVESIDE
2. BIBLE READING 1 Cor.15:51-58 (see above)
Words such as the following may be used before lowering the coffin:
- 'And now we commit the body of our beloved (Name Here) to
- To rest in peace till the resurrection of the dead at our Saviour's return to earth.
- When this corruptible shall put on incorruption.
this mortal shall put on immortality.
Then shall be brought
to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?
As the coffin is lowered into the grave, read a short portion of Scripture.
4. READING ... PSALM 23
- The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside
the still waters.
- He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.
- Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over
- Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of
my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
5. CLOSING PRAYER
Bear in mind that these Notes provide only brief guidelines. You may add a poem, musical item, have a family member say a few words on behalf of the bereaved relatives or sing a hymn or two at the graveside. It's up to you and the close family to decide what best suits the occasion.
'May God be with you'   is my prayer.
Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org