taking some morbid advice: funeral planning

I was thinking about death and funerals the other day.

Don’t freak out, this is not in any way an indication of something dire.  I don’t expect to die for many decades.  The Lord knows.  I just would like to make sure that somewhere out there I’ve given a few instructions about what I would and wouldn’t like for my funeral.

1) I’d prefer that the visitation be the time when memories or reminiscing happens and that at the actual funeral a sermon is given, not a free for all of sharing.  If one or two people who were close to me want to share a eulogy at the funeral, no problem, but I think the main place for that should be at the visitation.

2) I’d like the sermon to be a no holds bar presentation of the Gospel, complete with a picture of heaven and hell.

3) I’d like plenty of singing.  As much as people can stand.  Must-have songs (as of now) are: It is Well, In Christ Alone, Fly to Jesus (not sure that’s the actual name of it).  Special music would be great.

4) If there’s a reception afterwards with food, (I don’t care whether there is or isn’t, but if there is) I want there to be laughter.  Some of my fondest memories with cousins were at funeral receptions for my grandmothers.  I hope any kids who were at the funeral feel freed up to enjoy the reception.

5) If part of people’s reminiscing is negative, I don’t mind.  I’m a sinner.  I’m certain that my sins have effected people in unhappy ways.  If people need to work through this, I hope they feel they can talk about my sinfulness, with an understanding of God’s grace.

6) I hope the funeral is sad, with a strong undercurrent of hope.  Funerals are supposed to be for mourning and sadness.  Stuffing the sad part in favor of a “she’s in a better place” smile, if it’s not what’s actually felt, is fake.  Feel the sadness, feel the hope.  Sorrowful, yet rejoicing.

7) I don’t care what happens to my body.  If it’s buried, fine.  If it’s cremated, fine.  God formed me the first time around and He can form back together whatever remnants of my body remain on the last day.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Do you have any particular funeral instructions?  Have you thought about it?

8 thoughts on “taking some morbid advice: funeral planning

  1. Hey Abby,
    I was just thinking about funerals too. We have had a few in the last few months. I like your thoughts. I had a new one lately. I recently went to a funeral with out a body, he was cremated. There were several things about the funeral that caused me to reflect but one in a new way. I think I prefer a body. It seems wierd and it is a new thought for me because I had been a proponent for cremation but there is something about the finality for the mourners with a body present. Something felt a little incomplete without it. I was sad but not really able to grieve without the body. Is that strange? I think we are awkward mourners here in the U.S…. Just thinking out loud. Plus I heard Denis Pragger talking on it and I liked some of his thoughts. True the body is just a mere shell and the person who knew Christ is with the Lord, but we knew and loved who the body represented while with us. It is so good to say goodbye….with hopeful tears….
    Let me know what you think.
    Mandy N

  2. Good thoughts Mandy. You’re probably right that the body helps us to mourn more fully. If nothing else it is a strong reminder that the actual person is not present and brings home the fact that the body is indeed, just a shell. It probably helps us to see that visible reminder to know that the person is really gone and then to grieve.

    Thanks for weighing in.


  3. Did you read my post a while ago about funerals? It was a great article that I linked to. Here’s the post. II think funerals should be sad too. If they’re not, then we don’t have the right perspective. We are all image bearers of GOD. When someone dies, they no longer bear the image of God. That’s a terribly sad thing and a huge loss.

  4. Yes Andy, I read yours and the article and appreciated it. We had a Sunday School teacher a while back that strongly emphasized the importance of mourning at a funeral. It resonated with me.

    Your post was what made me think to write this one. I’m only just now getting around to it.. 🙂

    Is your fam healthy and tan?!

  5. Agreed!! Specifically, on cremation vs. casket, I had the same thoughts a few years ago until I started thinking about it seriously and wondered if it really mattered. Ultimately, I don’t think it does, but I did change my opinion slightly on preferring to not be cremated. Pastor John has something out there that I found helpful in thinking through this issue. I think it was an A.P.J. question.

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