Some Prayers and Readings Which You May Find Helpful

Prayers of Commendation

God of mercy,
into whose hands your Son Jesus Christ
commended his spirit at his last hour,
into your same hands
we now commend your servant N
that death may be for him/her the gate to life
and to eternal fellowship with you;
this we ask in the name of Christ, our Lord. Amen.

N, go forth upon your journey from this world,
in the name of God the Father almighty, who created you;
in the name of Jesus Christ, who suffered death for you;
in the name of the Holy Spirit, who strengthens you;
in communion with the blessed saints,
and aided by angels and archangels,
and all the armies of the heavenly host.
May your portion this day be in peace,
and your dwelling the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.

Prayers for those who Mourn

Gracious God,
surround us and all who mourn this day
with your continuing compassion.
Do not let grief overwhelm your children,
or turn them against you.
When grief seems never-ending,
take them one step at a time
along your road of death and resurrection
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Merciful Father,
hear our prayers and comfort us;
renew our trust in your Son,
whom you raised from the dead;
strengthen our faith
that [N and] all who have died in the love of Christ
will share in his resurrection;
who lives and reigns with you,
now and for ever. Amen.

Heavenly Father,
you have not made us for darkness and death,
but for life with you for ever.
Without you we have nothing to hope for;
with you we have nothing to fear.
Speak to us now your words of eternal life.
Lift us from anxiety and guilt
to the light and peace of your presence,
and set the glory of your love before us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Some Readings

John 14.1-6

Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
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.
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.
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.

Footprints

One night I had a dream.
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened
at the very lowest and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it:
'Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would 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 in times when I needed you most,
you would leave me.'
The Lord replied:
'My precious, 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.'

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

Death is nothing at all

Death is nothing at all ... I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed, at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word it always was, let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.

What is dying? I am standing on the sea shore. A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her until at last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, 'She is gone' Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, 'she is gone' there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up the glad shout, 'there she comes' - that is dying.

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
+ May the souls of the departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace, and may they rise in glory. Amen.