A Service of Remembrance and Hope
The following service could be held at any time during the church year but would be especially appropriate at the end of the year or around All Saints’ Day. In this congregation particular mention was made of all who had died in the previous two years, but that could be extended or shortened.
As people walk in they are given the opportunity to go to the front of the sanctuary and light a candle in memory of their loved one.
Welcome and Prayer
Litany of Remembrance and Celebration
Henry Ward Beecher wrote,
“What the heart once owned and had, it shall never lose.”
Tonight we remember those whom our hearts have owned and had,
and whom we know we will never lose.
We recall those who have touched our lives in such a way
that we will never be the same.
We are grateful for the ways in which they have blessed our lives.
We have lit candles in memory of those who gave us the gift of life.
We honor those who gave us birth and nurtured us,
those who endowed us with a heritage and raised us.
We remember mothers and fathers,
grandparents and great-grandparents,
and all our ancestors through the ages.
We remember also those who were as mother or father to us,
loving us by choice rather than chance.
We have lit candles in memory of those who have linked us
into the ongoing chain of family life.
We honor those who have shared our heredity
and who have experienced our common bonds.
We remember sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles,
relatives near and distant through time.
We have lit candles in memory of those who have walked beside us in so many ways.
We remember those who have worked with us and played with us,
who made our time on earth more enjoyable
and our experiences in the world more memorable.
We remember friends and co-workers and neighbors
who lifted us and expanded our horizons.
We have lit candles in memory of those to whom we ourselves
passed on the precious gift of life.
We hold dear in our hearts those we have held dear in our arms.
We remember children who have gone before us,
and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We remember those who lived only within the womb,
those who lived a very brief time after birth,
as well as those who lived on this earth for any number of years.
“O Love of God, How Strong and True” Bonar, LUYH 583 (v. 1–3), PsH 463
Reflection and Reading of Names for Those Deceased in the Past Two Years
Ministry of Music
“You Are Mine” Haas, arr. Hayes
“No More Tears”
“Jerusalem the Golden” Bernard of Cluny, LUYH 488, PsH 618
Invite a few people to share stories of their loved ones and their journeys through grief, perhaps interspersing verses 4 to 6 of the hymn “O Love of God, How Strong and True.” Bonar, LUYH 583, PsH 463
Expressing our Hope
Ministry of Music
“Meditation on Beautiful Savior” (handbell music arranged by Cathy Moklebust)
Gracious God, as we conclude this service of remembrance and hope,
we thank you for all our loved ones who are no longer with us.
We are mindful of family members and friends whose lives touched ours
in many different ways and continue to impact us today.
Thank you, God. They remain in our hearts.
We thank you for entering into the loneliness brought about by separation.
We thank you for your presence and comforting promises.
Thank you for being our refuge and strength.
Thank you for your love and compassion.
Thank you for offering us hope and healing in the face of brokenness.
We long for the day when all will be made new.
Grant us patience as we wait. Enable us to trust you each new day. Amen.
“Song Without Words, Op. 30, No.1” Mendelssohn
The Faith Journey through Grief
When we lose a loved one through death, the grief can be so painful and overwhelming that it frightens us. Some people worry whether they are mourning the “right” way and wonder if the feelings they have are normal or natural. It is helpful, therefore, to have some understanding of the different dimensions of the grieving process. The dimensions do not necessarily occur in any particular order. There is no predictable pattern or time frame.
Loss and grief affect our minds and spirits as well as our bodies and emotions. The healthy way to deal with grief is to acknowledge it in all its aspects. The hope of our Christian faith is of utmost importance in the healing process.
God does not forsake us in our sorrow: Psalm 10:14; 34:18; Isaiah 41:10
Shock, denial, or numbness: Psalm 38:21–22; 143:7–8
Tears: Psalm 6:6; 39:12a
Disorganization: Psalm 42:1, 3; 55:22
Physical reactions: Psalm 22:14–15; 4:1, 4
Fear and anxiety: Psalm 46:1; 1 Peter 5:7
Anger: Psalm 142:1–2; 71:20–21
Guilt: Psalm 130:1–6; 103:8–12
Loneliness: Hebrews 13:5b; Romans 8:38–39
Depression: Psalm 33:18–22; 62:5–8
Active Involvement in the Process
Externalizing the pain: Lamentations 3:19–26
Memories: 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Adjustments: Isaiah 40:29; 2 Corinthians 12:9
Physical care: 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
Search for meaning: Jeremiah 29:11–13
Realistic expectations: Proverbs 3:5–6
Hold on to hope: 1 Peter 1:3–6; 2 Corinthians 4:16–18; Romans 15:13