You and I are valued beyond measure.
We are not valuable because we are a member of a certain group or because we call the Creator a unique name.
We are not valuable because we follow a particular teacher, leader, guru or saint.
We are not valuable because of our spiritual discipline or special diet.
We are valuable because we are a spark of the Divine Creator and an expression of pure divine Love.
The Creator is only described two times in all of the Christian Bible; once as Love and once as Light. Scripture also says that we are made in the image and likeness of the Creator. Thus, we are Love and Light.
The only thing that gurus, priests, rabbis and elders can do for us to to point us back in the direction of home, our home is within, and fan that divine spark of Love.
FUNERAL and MEMORIAL SERVICES
According to Joseph Campbell the purpose of ritual is to "conduct people across those difficult thresholds of transformation that demand a change in the patterns not only of conscious but also of unconscious life."
Why do we have funerals?
For thousands of years, funerals have been a means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone we love.
According to Dr. Alan Wolfelt, noted grief counselor and author, the funeral ceremony:
* helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died.
* allows us to say goodbye.
* helps us remember the person who died and encourages us to share those memories with others.
* affirms the worth of our relationship with the person who died.
* provides a social support system for us and other friends and family members.
* allows us to search for the meaning of life and death.
* offers continuity and hope for the living.
Meaningful funeral ceremonies are rites of passage. They help us move from life before the death to life after death. The funeral ritual offers predictability and order when the world around us seems chaotic and beyond our control. It also provides a socially recognized forum for expression of our intense feelings of loss.
When no funeral ceremony takes place, those who loved the deceased often feel a sense of unfinished business.
We find that people are turning away from long established rituals of death, with traditional prayers and music. National polls indicate that people want something more personalized, more touching and and created to reflect the individuality of the deceased. Instead of being a dark and gloomy time, these ceremonies are becoming more upbeat and more like celebrations, honoring the life and the contributions of the deceased. No two funerals should ever be alike. They are so much more meaningful if they are created to meaningful to the survivors. There are many dignified and traditional choices to consider, what ever is your tradition. Additionally, all your choices can all reflect your individual tastes and wishes. As you consider your choices, also think about the people who will attend your services. Sometimes, something as simple as a certain piece of music or type of flower can offer loved ones a great deal of comfort when it elicits a special memory or significance.
Funerals and memorial service do not have to be in a dimly lighted funeral home chapel. They can be held in churches, gardens, parks, seashore, any favorite place the loved one like to go, even a favorite restaurant. Food is also becoming more appropriate at these events, some call it "comfort food."
We now gather at funerals and memorial service to honor and celebrate the life and the accomplishments of our loved ones. We connect with our hearts as we come together with one another in our journey through grief and sadness, on our climb to hope, healing and understanding.
We come together knowing that we are not alone in our challenges and struggles and we are confident that we will not be left empty in our search for a renewed life.
We gather as seekers after the truth, wherever it will lead us, and as pilgrims on the way, wherever our journey will lead us. We want to focus on the life lived instead of the life lost.
We come believing that in the demonstration of our appreciation and love for our loved ones and friends, and in letting go, we can somehow gain, in the sharing of our grief, a new strength.
We ask that in honoring the past we can find our way in the present.
We feel that in expressing our love and esteem, by telling stories, tributes, memorabilia, collections, displaying photos, playing special favorite poems, music or videos, or the hobbies, interests and accomplishments of the deceased, by friends, family and business associates, we can be confident these memories and attributes will never end. The more we can share the better.
This is a time to celebrate the life lived, not a time to "preach" or make people feel worse than they already feel. As a result, this kind of service helps us remember the special time we spent with our loved ones, as well as help us heal by making their passing real.
We extend special blessing to the family members and survivors, who asked to brave this very difficult time with so much dignity, grace and poise. They deserve our honor and respect.
We ask that we be connected in such a way that the time honored gifts of wisdom, strength, honor, and love fill each of as we share this short time together today.
So it is.
Some poems that have been helpful in in Funerals
AND THAT IS DYING Author Unknown
We are standing on the seashore
A ship at our side spreads her white sails
To the morning breeze
And starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
And we stand and watch her until at length,
She is a speck of white cloud
Just where the sea and the sky
Come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at our side says,
“There, She's gone!”
Gone from our sight, that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
As she was when she left our side,
And she is just as able to bear her load
Of living light to her destined harbor.
Her diminished size is in us,
not in this magnificent ship,
And just at the moment
when someone at our side says, “There, She's gone”
There are other eyes watching her coming
And other voices ready to take up glad shouts,
“Here it comes!”
And that is dying.
DO NOT STAND Author unknown
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints of snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
LET ME GO Author Unknown
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free!
Miss me a little… but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me… but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me… but let me go.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me Author Unknow
When tomorrow starts without me,
and I'm not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes,
all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry,
the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things,
we didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me,
as much as I love you,
and each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me,
please try to understand,
that an Angel came and called my name,
and took me by the hand,
and said my place was ready,
in heaven far above,
and that I'd have to leave behind,
all those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
a tear fell from my eye,
for all life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for,
so much yet to do,
it seemed almost impossible,
that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
the good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
just even for awhile,
I'd say goodbye and kiss you
and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized,
that this could never be,
for emptiness and memories,
would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
my heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
from His great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity,
and all I've promised you".
Today for life on earth is past,
but here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
but today will always last,
and since each day's the same day,
there's no longing for the past.
But you have been so faithful,
so trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things,
you knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven
and now at last you're free.
So won't you take my hand
and share my life with me?
So when tomorrow starts without me,
don't think we're far apart,
for every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.
Music that is a little different but may be appropriate
Wind Beneath my Wings by Bette Midler
The Rose by Bette Midler
It's a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Amazing Grace by Elvis
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Is
ISAIAH 43:1-3 NKJ
1 . . ."Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel , your Savior; . . .
ISAIAH 54:8,10 NKJ
8 . . . with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the Lord, your Redeemer.
10 For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
ISAIAH 41:10 NKJ
10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
"LOVE" I Corinthians 13 Apostle Paul
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became grown, I did away with childish things.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then, with Love, we shall see face to face; Now I know in part, but then, with Love, I will know fully just as I am fully known.
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console
to be understood, as to understand
to be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
it is in transitions, that we are born into Eternal Life. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Bob assists families and friends weather the transition of a loved one through counseling, assistance and performing funerals and memorials. He can be contacted at seraphimcenter[at]gmail.com, Rev. Dr. Janet can be reached at jcmoore1[at]gmail.com, or 352-373-8047 x-2 ) or 352-339-5946