Christ will open the kingdom of heaven to all who believe in his Name, saying, Come, O blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you. (BCP, p.500)
According to the Book of Common Prayer, “The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised. The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.”
As Christians, we know that death does not have the final word. Through God’s grace, Jesus has conquered sin and death forever. As we profess in the Apostles’ Creed, we believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Funerals are among the times that we as Christians do the task of the Church the best. We comfort one another in our grief, we gather in community, and we proclaim Christ crucified and risen.
There Are Three Types Of Services For The Departed
A funeral is the liturgy for the Burial of the Dead with the body present, either in a coffin or as ashes in an urn. It is usually held within a few days of the person’s death. It can be held in the church, graveside, or the funeral home. A funeral liturgy can also be in the absence of a body or ashes, such as when the body is willed to science or there are no remains. This is to be distinguished from a memorial service.
A committal is a brief liturgy that usually follows the funeral directly at the place where the body or ashes are to be interred. It can also be a stand-alone event.
A memorial service is a liturgy without either the body or ashes. It can be held at a stated time from a few days up to a year after death such as an anniversary, or in a place other than where the funeral is being held.