“In life and in death, we belong to God.” - That’s the opening line of A Brief Statement of Faith, and it echoes Scripture readings and other confessions of the church. Our faith asserts that there is nothing to fear in death itself, and we all know that it is a natural part of life. So why is it so hard to talk about sometimes? We’ve had some wonderful Nurture series about death and dying and planning now for that future, and I hope that all of us have given some thought and action to putting plans in place for that inevitable event. Wills, powers of attorney, and advanced medical directives are all part of that planning, and a gift to those we will leave behind. But what about your plans and wishes for your funeral, memorial service, or other modes of remembrance?
You might have certain ideas about what you do or do not want included in your memorial service, and it’s helpful to make those ideas known to others. But even beyond that, as we live in an increasingly secular, unchurched, and dechurched society, I’ve noticed a bigger trend across the country. Family members of saints of the church have not been involved in church or religious community themselves, and many have no idea where to start when it comes to the funeral service. Their primary point of contact is with the funeral home, and in many cases funeral homes have no idea about church affiliation. Families add funeral and graveside logistics to the to-do list, or to the overall funeral home package, and don’t know that this is one of the things we do as church. They may not even know what church their loved one attended, or how important the church community had been.
I have a very small file that includes funeral plans or wishes from some of the members of this church. Most of what I have was written years ago, and may not have been updated recently, and I would love to have something on file for everyone at Trinity. I am very happy to sit down and talk with anyone about this, and to facilitate that process, or enable a DIY approach, we’ve got a new page on our website dedicated to this planning (https://www.trinitypresbyterianharrisonburg.org/funeral-planning). There you will find links to a Funeral Planning guide and an online form to complete, if you choose to go that route.
If you think you have plans on file at the church, please double check with me! I only have a few, so one way or another, we need to get things up to date. In addition to sharing your wishes with the church, please let your family members know you have done so, and keep a copy on file with your other important documents.
Pre-planning is a gift you can give to those who love you. It alleviates the burden on your loved ones, and it gives your church family the opportunity to come together in mutual love and support in celebrating your life and the hope and promise of resurrection. In this season of gift-giving, add this one to your list!
Grace and peace,