We are all going to die. For many, the past year brought this reality into sharper focus. It is inescapable; death is the great equalizer.
Everyone will die, which also means most of us will have a funeral. The funeral provides us Lutherans the final opportunity to confess what we believe and why we believe it. You might even say that we “speak” our final confession from the grave. We should, then, approach our funerals and funeral planning with intentionality, crafting this final confession to bring glory to Christ, who will one day wake us from our graves to be with Himself in glory.
The September issue of The Lutheran Witness explores the Lutheran funeral in depth. The Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller writes about the uniquely Lutheran aspects of the funeral rite, while Benjamin Kolodziej walks the reader through a short history of funeral hymnody, with a focus on hymns that confess Christ and His saving work.
Jon Zwick, a funeral home director, offers a checklist of materials for the funeral home. The Rev. Mark Taylor describes a rite often used by pastors at the deathbed: the Commendation of the Dying. And the Rev. Martin Noland provides general advice on comforting the grieving, while the Rev. Peter Preus offers thoughts for consoling the bereaved of someone who committed suicide.
In the end, the Lutheran funeral confesses Christ, who went through death for us. Those baptized into His name are united to Him in death and life. Therefore, the Lutheran funeral focuses on joy in Christ, who will bring us to life again.
Posted Sept. 13, 2021