"The Visit, The Funeral, the Eulogy Message and the Committal"
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and cgood hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (NASU)
In this second lesson, We will focus on the importance of the visitation of a bereaved person, member or family both during the initial stages of their bereravement stages and even after the funeral and subsequent burial. of the deceased. Visitations by the Pastor and other concerned members and friends can work wonders in the bereaved person working through their grieving process and soon going on with the other business of their lives. If the visiting pastor or lay minister is not aware of what it takes to be an effective comforter to the bereaved family or person, the emotional damage could be severe and cause a giant rift in some or all of their other relationships in and outside the church family.. A death of a spouse, family member or a close friend, has ocureed. The grieving person has many internal questions, some questionong their faith, wondering why God took the person or allowed the tragedy if such to take place.. Others question where are they to go from this moment, after all their lives have been drastically changed
I. What does the pastor’s visit and presence remind the grieving family of?
Pertaining to visiting the residence of the grieving family or person, when the pastor' makes a strong effort to visit the bereeaved appearance before the funeral and even afterwards, Their visit should remind the bereaved of 2 things:
A. God’s presence and His concern for the family in their time of need.
B. Their visitation brings a welcomed reassurance to the family,
Along with assuring the bereaved that the pastor and the church grieves along with the family, the presence of that pastor or lay minister leaves them with the feeling that they do not mourn alone and they left in this world to grievea alone, but their church family (if it is a funeral for a member and in the family or relative but non- member of the church congregation) as a whole supports them collectively,and are constantly praying and interceding to God for them.
The visitation of the pastor to the family should be done in the spirit of Christian love and have these major goals in mind to accomplish concerning the bereaved:
A. First, the visitation and subsequent conversations they will engage in with those present at the house should reassure them that their feelings no matter how strong or devistating of grief are normal and just because things are hectic at the moment and every thing seems for the moment to come like at the family a whirlwind, theycan rest assure that none of them haven’t lost control of life in general and in due time, everything will settle down and become balanced once again.
B. Second, the time spent with the family should reassure and encourage them to live one day at a time and avoid making too many decisions rapidly or under durest but move forward in a deliberate fashion and make decisions as they become really ready to act upon each of the decisions they do make.
II. The Funeral: The Importance of having a Funeral
The funeral service, whether is occurs in a church sanctuary, in the chapel of a funeral home, or at the gravesite allows further opportunities for family, friends and other well wishers to pay their respects to the bereaved as well as to encourage those in bereavement continue in the grieving process and in time to bring some type of closure to the grieving process for the bereaved. The love one is now funeralized and it further helps in the acceptance of the reality of loss . Funerals (provided they are the “right” kind) are needed not only for that but also for the following reasons:
A. For the Christian whose going through the grieving process, the funeral procession for their deceased loved one and the memorial service glorifies God, because it’s another opportunity to worship God.
B. The funeral is also an opportunity to glorify mankind in humanity by burying their physical body with dignity and in honor. The reason this is true is because man according to Genesis 1: 26- 27 was made in the image and likeness of God and man’s physical body is the temple of God. According to God: "from dust we were taken and from dust we shall return." (Genesis 3:19)
C. The funeral service is a public testimony to our faith in the sovereignty of God and another way to worship God in his sovereignty.
D. The Funeral service “fortifies” or strengthens those who mourn and are bereaved for the deceased. In truth, the funeral service is really not for the deceased family, rather, it is for all who survive the deceased attending the funeral memorial service . Second, the funeral service allows us all to see in a vivid way that death in inevitable and a reality for us all one day. The funeral service also helps to bring closure for those friends and family members who are alive and left behind, enabling them to go on with life in rememberance of the deceased, looking to Christ and the blessed hope that awaits all who are His at their death.
III. The Eulogy Message.
When the Pastor or other Eulogist eulogizes the deceased and preaches at the funeral, there are several things that strongly should be considered as they prepare the message for the funeral service:
A funeral message should be “time sensitive” and not be more than 10 minutes. Though brief, it should be a personal message with the deceased and those who mourn in mind.
B. Biblical Truth.
The brief meaasge should comprise one truth presented in a vivid manner that will be understood by all those listening that they can apply immediately to their lives. Clear and positive biblical teachings that convey what is clearly taught in the bible.,
C. A Christian message.
The message should be a message that illuminates God’s Holy Word, pointing the bereaved and other hearers to Jesus Christ. It should compel them to depend on him in this and every time of need. It should convey a positive message of God’s love and concern for the lost of a love one, and reveal the blessed hope, strength and healing those who bereave can experience in depending on Jesus Christ.
D. A "quiet conversation" or an "espressive sermonette."
Depending upon the family circumstance and/ or temperment, the eulogy message in its presentation can be done either in a "monotonic" up close and personal message from God to the bereaved as if the minister is having a private talk with the surviving family in the confines of their home living room, or it can be done the way in recent years in in modern times, like a "espressive" sermonette because it the deceased is a saved person, it is a celebration of their homegoing to live with our Heavenly father.
E. God centeredness.
The message should reveal God as soverign, wise, loving and express his grace given to man, not focussed on man and his failures. The funeral message should be presented in a way that “changes” the hearers’ ears into eyes so they can see the God's truth in a vivid way.
F. Radiance and fullness of hope.
The funeral message should address a realistic view of death; that death is a reality of this life; that we do grieve and hurt while grieving; that living this life is not easy, but through it all we can feel the overwhelming presence and care of God; that He does understand how we feel and He stands with us while we go though the grief.
G. A “sensitive” message.
The minister must present and apply the message to those who are bereaved in a sensitive way. They must be sensitive to the needs of the family, their testimony, or the lack of a testimony of the deceased. They must be sensitive to the truth of the Word of God and how it is to be applied to the hearers in the funeral setting They must be led by the Holy Spirit because He know the conditions and situations within a family or individual.
IV. The Purpose of the Committal of the Body
What is the main purpose of the committal service at the grave?
The main purpose of the committal service is to write: “it is finished” over all that has been done, because there is “finality” in a death that the human heart must accept. Once the burial casket and the vault that will hold it is lowered into the ground. it sends a final message to the bereaved and all who witnesses this that their love oneand friend has passed from this life to the life that awaits them in the beyond, and that they are no longer present physically with those who live on earth. As the days go by the bereaved will recalla the burial at the gravesite, placing a stamp of finality on the human life of their loved one. They must now face life without them and go on and complete the grieving process and go on with living out their lives. In doing so, they face the reality that all must live in preparation of the day that theytoo who once or severall times were bereaved will pass through the same process mof dying and become the deceased.