Saturday, December 23, 2017

Graveside Service Template by Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP

Come to me, all you,
who are burdened and weary,
and I will give you rest.
Come to me, as you are,
        and I will tend to you.  (Heart’s Journey/Monica Brown)

On behalf of (significant survivor) and his/her family: (List names) -- I welcome you here today.  We gather to honor (decedent’s name) and to give him/her our blessing as he/she experiences the transformation of his/her life that continues on beyond all human understanding. 
I am humbled and honored to be asked to lead this prayer for (decedent’s name), and for you, his/her family and friends.
Loving God, we are grateful for the wonderful gifts of the universe, for our place in it, and for (name), and all our loved ones who have gone before us, grateful that they will always have a special place in our lives.
As we all know, (name) has his/her own unique way of being and loving in this world, a personally unique way the world has never seen before, and a way that will never be duplicated.  (Share decedent’s qualities/gifts) And as we return his/her body/ashes to the earth from which it came, we trust in a God who loves us as (name) does, and as we are called to love one another.
O Holy Creator of every nation and people, from the beginning of creation you have manifested your love.  When our need for you was great, you sent Jesus to be born of Mary. Into (name’s) life Jesus brought joy and peace, justice, compassion, and love.  Through the waters of Baptism, (name) was welcomed into a community of faith that nurtured his/her spirit.  And through these waters today, we bless and release him/her* to the realm of your Holy Presence forever.                                              *sprinkle casket/urn with holy water.

Reader 1:
Let us now be attentive to this inspired message from Michael Morwood:
“We believe we exist in God, but in a God beyond our images and descriptions, a God beyond the many names we use:  Breath of Life, Creator, Source and Sustainer of everything that exists.
Everywhere we look, this energizing presence comes to visible expression.  We believe that each of us gives this presence and source a unique way of doing so. Everywhere we look, we can observe the perpetual rhythm of new life, followed by death, followed by new life.
So, we don’t believe that death is the final end of anything.  Rather, it is a transformation in the continuation of the ebb and flow of existence in ways we do not understand.
(Name’s) death speaks to us of the wonder of being human in a universe so vast and so magnificent, and of our existence within it as a mystery and power that we cannot fathom or put into words.
In a very real sense, this vast and magnificent universe of ours came alive and became aware in (name).  He/she gave God a way of coming to expression, here in our lives, here in a way that reached out and touched us, as (husband/wife, father/mother, grandfather/grandmother, brother/sister, brother/sister-in-law, uncle/aunt, cousin, co-worker, neighbor, loyal friend, etc.)
He/she lived and loved in God, God lived and loved in him/her, and in death he/she lives on in God and in us.”

We know that as we return this body/these ashes to the earth that it miraculously came from, we are not burying (name).  (Name’s) love lives in eternal life and lives within each of us.
And so, that Spirit within, now calls him/her forward: 
I am the wind, breathing with you, caressing you, blowing you to eternal life.

I am the sun, warming you, showing you the most brilliant sunset of your life,
easing you to eternal life.

I am the earth, holding you, healing you,
releasing you to eternal life.
I am a butterfly, flying with you, fluttering around you,
leading you to eternal life.

I am a star, glowing in the dark, shining closer and closer,
lighting your way to eternal life.

I am the Light, surrounding you, within you, beyond you,
 beckoning you to eternal life.  Let it be so.
 (©Diann L. Neu, D.Min., from Seasons of Compassion)

Reader 2:
And as (name) makes his/her journey forward, his/her arms are outstretched and beckoning us all with these words: 
My Beloved, if you need to weep,
Cry for your sister or brother
walking the street beside you.

And when you need me, put your arms around anyone,
and give them what you need to give me.

I want to leave you something--
Something better than words or sounds.

Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved;
and if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live in your eyes and not on your mind.

You can love me most by letting hands touch hands,
by letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go of children that need to be free.

Love doesn’t die, people do.
So when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away.

For you are the angels of your time,
called to be divine messengers
spreading love and peace to one another.

O Compassionate One,
you know the anguish of the sorrowful,
you are attentive to the prayers of the humble.
Hear us, your people
who cry out to you in our need,
and strengthen our hope in your lasting goodness.

Let us pray together:
O Holy One, you are within, around and among us.
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come, your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us,
now and forever. Amen.
(adapted, Sr. Miriam Therese Winter)

Hail Mary, full of grace,
Our God is with you!
Blessed are you among women,
and blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus,
pray with us now,
and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Eternal life grant to (name), O Holy One,
And let perpetual light shine upon him/her.
May he/she live in peace.

May his/her spirit and the spirits of all those who have gone before us, through the compassion of God, live in peace.

(Please extend your hands as we bless one another)
May the love of God and the peace of Jesus
bless and console us,
and gently wipe away every tear from our eyes,
in the name of the Divine:
Source of All Being, Eternal Word, and +Holy Spirit.

Go now as bearer of peace and as consoler to one another; and, as (name) did and will continue to do through us, extend a loving hand to others in our world. 
Thanks be to God.

1 comment:

Sr. MarySheila McCarthy,IHM said...

This a beautiful and consoling prayer service! Thank you for sharing it!