Prayers for our beloved who have entered Eternal Life

The Episcopal liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.

 

The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are physically parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.

 

The ritual of the funeral or the memorial service has several purposes. First of all, it helps mourners recognize the loss as real. We acknowledge that someone has died, and we acknowledge the death not just in fact, but in feeling. We come together to grieve in the presence of a caring community, and we have permission to give ourselves to the experience of loss.

 

We also gather to celebrate the life that is now gone from us, to recollect and to remember, as in “to make whole again.” The service is a way of paying respect to the person who has died, one who has lived a life full of hope and possibility and struggle. We believe the service also will bring at least a partial sense of closure to the void that loved ones feel at these times. The purpose of all religious ritual is transformation: We come to the service in one state, we leave in another. 

We ask you join us in prayer for the following individuals who have been born to Eternal Life this year, and for their families, spouses and friends who mourn their passing from this Earthly existence with the following words:

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brothers and sisters who have passed to eternal life. We thank you for giving them to us, their family and friends, to know and love as a companion on our earthy pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 Maria Elias

Phyllis Abbate

Patrice Donohue (Pickman)

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