When we have a funeral in the small midwestern town where I grew up, we always have ham buns and cake. We come back from the committal service, go to the church hall, sit on folding chairs, and the Ladies' Aid Society serves us coffee or tea, ham on buns from Vander Ploeg's bakery, and white cake. We gathered there after my mother's funeral thirty years ago, after my father's nine years ago, and last year after my Aunt Bell's.
Articles in this issue:
We Enter into God's Presence with Praise
Prelude (The prelude will be organ music and congregational singing. The songs will be sung without announcement. Congregation is to join in as they enter.)
"God of All Ages"
[PH 262, PsH 599, RL 494, TH 710]
"We Plow the Fields and Scatter"
[PH 560, PsH 456, RL 17, TH 714]
"Now Thank We All Our God"
[PH 555, PsH 454, RL 61, TH 98]
New Way to Get Choral Music
A new service concept has been initiated by Christian Music Clearing House. This organization is currently working with over fifty churches and has over 3,300 preowned choral music titles available for purchase, rent, or borrowing. The clearing house charges an annual fee and provides, in addition to suggested negotiation information, an inventory list of all available materials. For more information, contact: Christian Music Clearing House, P.O. Box 771239, Wichita, KS 67277-1239.
For the last time this past week, I hope, I let an essentially pagan industry dictate to my colleagues and me how we go about what should be a uniquely Christian celebration.
My friend Manker Sherrod, an enthusiastic World subscriber, died at the age of 85. From his earliest years, Manker was a follower of Christ—and everyone around him knew of his faithful Christian testimony.
Nashville: Abingdon, 1979. 94 pp.
This resource is a I publication of the Sec-I tion on Worship of the United Methodist Church. "The Order of Service" appears as a special pamphlet and can be ordered in quantity. This Order includes a communion service and an "Order of Committal." The rest of the book consists of a discussion of the ministry of the church at death, extended commentary on the "Order of Service," and additional resources, including prayers and Scripture readings.
The funeral will soon begin in the church sanctuary. Family, friends, and members of the congregation have been seated and are awaiting the processional. In the narthex stand the minister and the pallbearers with the coffin. As a white cloth, or a "pall," is respectfully laid on the coffin, the minister begins the service with familiar words from Galatians 3:27: "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" he says.
I am writing these words on the first anniversary of my father's death. Before he died, he suffered for nearly three months with bowel cancer. He had a tumor removed a year earlier, but the cancer reappeared. He was eighty-two, and he did not want further surgery; he was eager to go home to be with his Lord.
Weddings and funerals are the two major rituals in contemporary culture in which virtually everyone participates. Both involve families, and both are often held in church.
Unlike weddings, however, funerals are seldom anticipated or planned for. They often come on us suddenly, giving us little time to prepare. Overwhelmed by grief, we are inclined to simply follow custom and tradition in planning the funeral service.