Luke 16:27 – Then he said, I pray thee therefore father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's home. (KJV)When we must say "goodbye" to an acquaintance, a co-worker, a friend, a family member, the "service" — no matter in what form it is presented — is one of those things where we don't get a second chance. What is said and how it is said makes such a difference. A huge onus is placed upon the person delivering the final farewell.
I had been to several in the space of a month. One was almost admonishing the deceased for the lack of church attendance and left most of us feeling let down. One was very uplifting, each word spoken as if being played as a beautiful piece of music. The life that had been led was celebrated; the life that lay ahead, welcomed.
It has been said that our passing is like a plane ride, or a ship's sailing. It is sad to leave those behind, but so joyous to meet those waiting for us at the other end. The "service" or "Celebration of Life" is one way to reassure the family and friends that their loved one's life mattered, and that there is a beautiful place to which they have gone — that they have been called, and sent, to their father's home.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we give thanks for the ministers who comfort us and help us celebrate the lives of our loved ones. In Your name we pray. Amen.