“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25) As Christians, we know that death is not the end. 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 perform 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. A Christian funeral is not a tribute to how wonderful you were, but instead it publicly affirms the saving power of God, as demonstrated in your life. We tell how God’s story interacts with your story. Baptismal imagery is important because it reminds us of God’s saving deeds. As Paul writes in Romans 6:5, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Planning now for your funeral is important. We make plans for many things in life. Some we are never able to do. Yet death is inevitable, and thus it is crucial that we plan for it. Planning does not hasten the event. Funeral pre-planning is necessary, first of all, as a means to let your wishes be known to all concerned. Secondly, pre-planning your funeral enables you to give expression to your faith through choosing what is to take place. Also, it eases the burden on your loved ones by eliminating the pressure of decision-making, particularly the need of trying to do things “the way you would have wished.” Finally, pre-planning will give you a certain amount of peace, knowing that your affairs are in order.
If at all possible, discuss these plans with your loved ones. Allow them to participate in the planning and to express their thoughts. This brings the subject out into the open and provides loved ones with an opportunity to openly share their love and sorrow, which is best shared now rather than after a death occurs.
Please bear in mind that the more complex and complete your plans become, the more tentative they must be. The events surrounding your death, or events that may occur between now and the time of your death, may necessitate changes. Therefore, from time to time, every several years, the plans in this booklet may need to be updated.
This guide should answer many of your questions about the planning of a funeral or a memorial service and what ways we, as the Church, hope to serve you in this time. We are more than happy to keep a copy of your wishes on file and will share them with your family when necessary.
You can download our Funeral Planning Guide by following this link. If you have questions or concerns, please call the church office at 801-444-1591.
God’s Love and Ours,
Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ at Light of the Valley Lutheran Church