The Funeral

Since the funeral on Monday for the death of a 22-year-old man who committed suicide, a number of people have approached me asking for my service notes.

I have enclosed the notes in a pdf form here: suicide-funeral-service.

A few things to note:

  • With funerals, you have to be VERY exact in what you are going to say. Due to the levity of the situation there is NO room for shooting from the hip and saying something unintentionally hurtful or trite.
  • At the same time, mood is everything. Careful of being too “formal” and not human. Seek true empathy in the moment of this tragedy.  With hard cases like this, it isn’t difficult.
  • The similie about death coming through different doors was taken from Roger F. Miller in an article he wrote for Christianity Today, dealing with difficult funeral services. You can find it here.
  • With everything spoken at the funeral service that day, the most impacting and unforgettable words came from the young man’s father after the graveside committal service. Following the reading of some passages, a few words, and the Lord’s prayer, the father stood up and spoke to the crowd with such love and ferver in pressing them towards Christ. One of the most moving experiences I have ever been a part of.

I pray no one ever has to refer to this, but if so, hopefully this will be a helpful resource in speaking truth during the midst of great pain and questioning.

NOTE:  This is just one version of how I approached a difficult situation like this.  I am certain there are better resources out there, by people with greater skill and knowledge.)

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~ by Dave Smith on June 28, 2008.

One Response to “The Funeral”

  1. Thank you, Dave. I was very moved with not only what you said, but how you said it. Each word spoken with clarity and deep compassion. We were all better for having heard this message from God, through you. Should I ever need them, these notes will serve as my tutor.

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