So today we said goodbye to my Nan. There was a short service at the crematorium and then tea at my parents house. It was all rather lovely actually. I held it together, no tears - rather unusual for me! and read the prayers without wobbling too... I think just completely because I was so sure of where she is now, of her salvation.
And the interesting thing has actually been the planning of it. Which made me wonder who is the funeral really for? For some it is a celebration of the life of the person, so they plan the service according to the taste of the deceased. Others see it more as a way to say goodbye, particularly for those who may not have been around prior to the death. And others still, plan the service according to those who will be attending.
It's easy to see how these things can be fraught, planning amidst grief means that the focus on the arrangements is magnified. The tiniest of details can become huge and often down to individual tastes or foibles. Actually the planning of my Nans was ok and really it wasn't my place to organise it anyway, so I will keep my mouth shut about the things I would have done differently. But ultimately I think she would have liked it, not least because her nephew (a Methodist Minister) took the service, which was lovely.
Anyway, I wanted to share the prayers I read. They come from my Nans daily prayer book which she read every day. The first prayer is from the day she died and the second for todays date (the funeral). My Dad was rather scathing when I pointed out the aptness of them and posed that maybe it was a 'Godincidence', but I rather like the fact that for those 2 specific dates they were so perfect!
Unto Thee, in the light of our Saviour's blessed life, we would lift our souls. We thank thee for that true light shining in our world with still increasing brightness. We thank thee for all who have walked therein, and especially for those near to us and dear, in whose lives we have seen this excellent glory and beauty. May we know that in the body and out of the body they are with Thee, and that when these earthly days come to an end, it is not that our service of Thee and of one another may cease, but that it may begin again anew. Make us glad in all who have peacefully died. Lift us into light and love and purity and blessedness, and give us at last our portion with those who have trusted in Thee and sought, in small things as in great, in things temporal and things eternal, to do Thy Holy Will.
God, who in thy loving kindness dost both begin and finish all good things; grant that as we glory in the beginnings of Thy grace, so we may rejoice in its completion; through Jesus Christ our Lord.