Month: December 2020

a committal service for the dead

We gather today in love, to celebrate the life of our (brother/sister), (name of deceased).

We meet with sorrow in our hearts because one we have loved is no longer with us. Yet, we also meet in thankfulness for the gift of (name’s) life, which touched us all.

We come in sorrow, confronting the fact that life ends. Yet we also know that there is a power stronger than death—the transformative power of love. Love has joined us together as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, as parents and children, as brothers and sisters, and as friends and neighbors. To be touched by love is to have experienced the transforming power of God on earth.

The anguish of parting cannot destroy this most real of all realities. A love that was once born can never die, for it has become part of our life, woven into the fabric of our being. Among those who are here today, love has joined our lives together, friendship has bonded us, and shared joys and sorrows have shaped our history with one another. The relationships of love and friendship that knit us all together in life do not unravel at death.

So this day we bear witness to (name’s) life—who, now in death, blesses us with the spirit in which (he/she) lived (his/her) life.

In the beatitudes of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus described those of us who are gathered here in the words, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Blessed are we who mourn for we have been privileged to walk alongside (name) through life’s journey.

Blessed are we who mourn for we have been graced with the precious gift of (name’s) love and friendship.

Blessed are we who mourn for although (name’s) living spirit is gone, we know that the love he/she shared will never die. For that love now lives in each of us.

Let us pray:

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Amen.

We now commend (name) into the rest of everlasting peace.

May we hold the memory of (his/her) life and (his/her) love forever in our hearts and minds.

Amen.

Joined With Love: a wedding hymn

In community we gather,
Off’ring blessings on this day.
Friends and fam’ly joined together,
Raising voices now to pray.
May your journey from this moment
Be in God’s embracing care –
Like a mother, like a father,
Giving freely, always there.

May your days be filled with wonder,
May your nights be safe from fear.
May you learn to love each other
Ever more from year to year.
May you give to one another
Gifts of gentleness and grace;
Partners in a life together,
Hand in hand through time and space.

May your light shine in the darkness,
May your words be strong and bold.
May your love and your compassion,
Be a sign to young and old.
May your hearts accept all others,
Strangers, friends, and enemies.
May your lives reflect God’s kingdom,
Breaking down all boundaries.

May you build on strong foundations
A creation of your own,
Structured to withstand the ages,
Stronger still than brick or stone.
Joined with love, and care, and patience,
Built with tenderness and tears,
Crafted with a joyful spirit,
That endures throughout the years.

 

Music: “Hymn of Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven
© 1999 Kurt Struckmeyer

(For the wedding of Amy Struckmeyer and Jim Skalla)

For Life and Love: a wedding hymn

Like potter’s clay on spinning wheel,
Grasped by strong hands that push and pull,
Our lives take shape in height and breadth,
In form and grace most wonderful.

Our vision shaped by hands of love,
What we have known is what we see.
We look at life as through a lens.
The eyes of love see differently.

As hatred blooms around the world,
As evil reigns and has its way,
The eyes of love are filled with hope.
Hate cannot last, love comes to stay.

So come now friends and family
In celebration, share in song.
That these two lives conceived in love
Will now be joined, their whole life long.

And may our prayers be offered here
That each may grow as husband, wife;
That love may bloom and bring new joy,
Transcending death, transforming life.

We raise our thanks and praise to God
With flute and pipe, with strings and voice;
We lift our hearts in gratitude
For life and love. Let all rejoice!

 

Music: “The Water Is Wide” – Traditional
© 2002 Kurt Struckmeyer

(For the wedding of Sara Struckmeyer and Chris Masson)

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