Gathering of Funeral Teams

November 2014 

We remember…We believe…We serve

Opening Song   Jesus Remember Me (Taizé)
All sing: Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom
Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom
(A short procession of people carrying a lectionary, a candle, a white cloth, a bowl of water and a flower takes place during this song)

Opening Procession
I carry the Word of God so that I can share its wisdom with those I meet in my funeral ministry
I carry a candle to represent the light of hope that I bring in the name of the Risen Christ
I carry a white cloth to recall innocence and goodness to which we are all invited
I carry a bowl of water to remind me of our baptism in the waters of new life
I carry a flower to keep in mind the beauty of all God’s created life especially those to whom I minister

Opening Prayer
All say:  Loving God
We come here tonight to reflect on our role as members of our parish funeral team.
Draw near to us as we draw near to you
Speak to us
Through words of scripture,
Through our prayers
Through our music
Through all that we share,
So that believing in the Gospel and trusting in Christ,
We may offer the comfort, peace, and strength you long to give us and find hope in this life and in the life to come.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We Remember

Litany of Remembrance One

Let us remember those who have lived and loved, those who have left us a blessed heritage.
Let us remember the light filled ones who enkindled our spirits with their influence and the spark of their beliefs.
We remember them
Let us remember the risk takers, who faced their fears and took action, who sought justice even though they had to pay a price for it.
We remember them
Let us remember the vulnerable ones who allowed us to care for them, allowed us to be with them in their time of need.
We remember them
Let us remember the faith-filled ones who led us by word and example into a deeper relationship with God.
We remember them
Let us remember the brave ones, who walked through their struggles with hope, who taught us how to trust.
We remember them
Let us remember the great lovers of life, whose humour and enthusiasm lifted our spirits and brought us joy.
We remember them
Let us remember the nurturers, who gave us birth physically or spiritually, who gave us support by their caring presence.
We remember them

Song   Think Of Me (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
Think of me, think of me fondly when we’ve said goodbye.
Remember me ev’ry so often promise me, you’ll try.
On that day, that not so distant day,
when you are far away from me
If you ever find a moment, spare a thought for me.
And though it’s clear, though it was always clear,
That this was never meant to be,
If you happen to remember, stop and think of me.

We believe

Reading   I Thessalonians 4: 13-14
We want you to be quite certain, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him.

Song   Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled (David Haas)
All sing:  Do not let your hearts be troubled,
have faith in God and faith in me
I will go forth to prepare a place for you
and I’ll come back to take you with me
that where I am you may also be.

We serve

Reading   John 13:2-5
They were at supper … and Jesus got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing.

Song   The Servant Song (Richard Gillard)
All sing:  Will you let me be your servant,
let me be as Christ to you,
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
we are travellers on the road,
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

Reflection   God in an Apron (Macrina Wiederkehr)
Supper was special that night. There was both a heaviness and a holiness hanging in the air. We couldn’t explain the mood. It was sacred, yet sorrowful. Gathered around that table, eating that solemn, holy meal  seemed to us the most important meal we had ever sat down to eat. And then suddenlythe One-Who-Loved startled us all. He got up from the table and put on an apron. Can you imagine how we felt?

We remember

Candle of Remembrance and Compassion Two
We now light a candle to remember our loved ones –
from this candle we hold in our hearts all those have died.
We hold in our hearts all those who grieve the loss of loved ones, friends, colleagues.
We hold in our hearts all those whose lives have been torn by grief.
We invoke the spirit of compassion.
In mystery we are born, in mystery we live and in mystery we die.
If we remember and are remembered, life endures, meaning
reigns and hope deserves.

Reading:   John 11:17-26
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Jesus wept and the Jews said, ‘See how much he loved him.

Song  Soon And Very Soon (Andrae Crouch)
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King.
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We are going to see the King.
No more crying there,
We are going to see the King,
No more crying there,
We are going to see the King.
No more crying there,
We are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
We are going to see the King.

We believe

Reflection   Grief (John O’Donohue)
Though the silent weeping of your heart lessens, you get on, more or less, with your life; a place is kept within you for the one who is gone. No other will ever be given the key to that door.  As the years go on you may not remember the departed every day with your conscious mind. Yet below your surface mind, some part of you is always in their presence.

From their side, our friends in the unseen world are always secretly embracing us in their new and bright belongings. Though we may forget them, they can never forget us; their secret embrace unknowingly shelters and minds us.

The bright moment in grief is when the sore absence gradually changes into a well of presence. You become aware of the subtle companionship of the departed one.  You know that when you are in trouble, you can turn to this presence beside you and draw on it for encouragement and blessing.

The departed is now no longer restricted to any one place and can be with   you any place you are.  It is good to know the blessings of this presence.

We serve

All sing:   I will hold the Christ-light for you,
in the night-time of your fear,
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping,
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
‘til we’ve seen this journey through.

Reflection  Tenderness encircled us as He bowed before us. He knelt and said,
“I choose to wash your feet  because I love you.”

We remember

Litany of Remembrance             Three
We Remember Them

In the rising of the sun and its going down, 
Response:     We remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,            
Response:     We remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring.            
Response:     We remember them.
In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,            
Response:     We remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.            
We remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,             
Response:     We remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,            
Response:     We remember them.
When we are lost and sick of heart,
Response:     We remember them.
When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share,            
Response:     We remember them.
We believe 

Reflection    The Tree of Life and Death
lowly she celebrated the sacrament of Letting Go.
First she surrendered her Green, then the Orange, Yellow and Red.
Finally she let go of her Brown shedding her last leaf she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky she began her vigil of trust
And Jesus said:
And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they neither have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these.
Shedding her last leaf she watched its journey to the ground. She stood in silence wearing the colour of emptiness, her branches wondering: How do you give shade with so much gone?
And Jesus said:
Do not be anxious or overly concerned.
And then, the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness, clothing her with silhouettes they kept her hope alive.
They helped her understand that her vulnerability, her dependence and need, her emptiness, her readiness to receive were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood in silence and celebrated together the sacrament of waiting

Song   Ag Críost an Síol (Seán Ó Riada)
All sing:   Ag Críost and síol Christ’s is the seed,  Ag Críost an fómhar Christ’s is the harvest,  In iothlainn Dé to the barn of Christ  Go dtugtar sinn. may we be brought.  Ag Críost an mhuir Christ’s is the sea,  Ag Críost an t-iasc, Christ’s is the fish,  I Iionta De in the nets of Christ  Go gcastar sinn. may we be caught.  Ó fhás go haois, From the growth to age,  Ó aois go bás, from age to death,  Do dhá lámh, a Chríost, your two arms, Christ,  Anall tharainn. around about us.  Ó bhás go críoch, From death to the end,  Ní críoch ach athfhás, not end but re-growth,  I bParthas na nGrás in the heaven of graces  Go rabhaimid. may we be.

We serve

Reflection Then He handed me the towel and said, “As I have done,         so you must do.” Learn to bow. Learn to kneel.

Song The Servant Song (Richard Gillard)
All sing:   When we sing to God in heaven,
we shall find such harmony.
Born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Will you let me be your servant,
let me be as Christ to you,
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

Closing Prayer

Song  Jesus King of Angels (Fernando Ortega) 

Concluding Prayer
All say:  May the Lord support us all the day long ‘til the shades lengthen and the evening comes
and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is done.
Then in his mercy may He grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen. (Blessed John Henry Newman)

Blessing  Celtic Blessing
May the God of gentleness be with you,
caressing you with sunlight and rain and wind.
May his tenderness shine through you to warm
all those who are hurt and lonely.
may the blessing of Gentleness be upon you.
May the God of Strength be with you,
holding you in strong-fingered hands
and may you be a sacrament of His strength
to those whose hands you hold.
May the blessing of Strength be upon you.
May the God of Peace be with you,
taking away your fears and doubts and
may the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious.
May the blessing of Peace be upon you.
The guarding of the God of life be on you,
the guarding of the Loving Christ be on you,
the guarding of the Holy Spirit be on you to aid
And uphold you each day and night of your lives.

Song   Night Has Fallen (Malawi)
All sing:        Night has fallen…God our maker guard our sleeping
Darkness now has come… God our maker guard our sleeping
We are with you, Lord… God our maker guard our sleeping
You have kept us, Lord… God our maker guard our sleeping
See your children, Lord… God our maker guard our sleeping
Keep us in your love… God our maker guard our sleeping
Now we go to rest… God our maker guard our sleeping