Helpful Words

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One of the Bible passages most used at funerals is Psalm 23 which compares God with a loving shepherd

 

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
therefore can I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.

3 He shall refresh my soul
and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You spread a table before me
in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil
and my cup shall be full.

6 Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Another passage is John 14. 1 - 6. where Jesus speaks about God’s generous love.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

 A couple of popular poems that bring comfort are one by Henry Scott-Holland

I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you…, whatever we are to each other that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you have always used. Put no difference in your tone; wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we have always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means all it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolute unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just round the corner. All is well.

The other is Footprints

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with
the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he
noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the
other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the
footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his
life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened
at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: "LORD, you
said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But
I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is
only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me."
The LORD replied: "My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never
leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one
set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." By: Mary Stevenson (1922-1999)

This was originally written for the Queen Mothers funeral

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he's gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Father God, we pray that you will be with us at this time.
Wrap your loving arms around us and comfort us with your peace.
Help us to know the consolation of your endless love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.