The Funeral Service

As assembled and adapted by Glenn C. (South Bend, Indiana). The actual funeral or memorial service will use some of these prayers and readings and omit others. In particular, if there will be a number of people speaking and two or three musical pieces, a good many of these prayers and readings will need to be left out.
Opening Prayer
Detroit A.A. prayer from 1945, from
the SE Michigan Area 33 website

Our heavenly Father,
We ask thy blessings on this meeting.
Please bless the spirit and purpose of this group.
Give us strength to follow this program
According to thy will and in all humility.
Forgive us for yesterday and grant us
Courage for today and hope for tomorrow. Amen


Serenity Prayer

God grant me
       the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
       the courage to change the things I can,
              and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
       enjoying one moment at a time;
       accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking this sinful world as it is,
       not as I would have it:

trusting that you will make all things right
       if I surrender to your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
       and supremely happy
              with you forever in the next.


Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. AMEN


The Twelve Promises

As God's people we stand on our feet; we don't crawl before anyone. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity

and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us -- sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.


Bill & Lois's Prayer
Pass It On, page 265

Oh Lord, we thank Thee that Thou art,
       that we are from everlasting to everlasting.

Blessed be Thy holy name and all Thy benefactions to us
       of light, of love, and of service.
May we find and do Thy will
       in good strength, in good cheer today.

May Thy ever-present grace be discovered
       by family and friends
       -- those here and those beyond --
by our Societies throughout the world,
       by men and women everywhere,
and among those who must lead
       in these troubled times.

Oh Lord, we know Thee to be all wonder,
       all beauty, all glory, all power, all love.
       Indeed, Thou art everlasting love.

Accordingly, Thou has fashioned for us a destiny
       passing through Thy many mansions,
ever in more discovery of Thee
       and in no separation between ourselves.


The Great Intelligence
From Richmond W.'s memoirs

Above all, my faith in the great Intelligence behind the universe, which can give me all the strength I need to face whatever life has to offer, is the foundation of my present life.
When I die, my body will return to dust. Heaven is not any particular place in the sky. But my intelligence, or soul, if it is in the proper condition, will return to the Great Intelligence behind the universe and will blend with that Great Intelligence and be at home again, whence it came.
My problem, in what is left of my life, is to keep my mind or intelligence in the proper condition by living with honesty, purity, unselfishness, love, and service, so that when my time comes to go, my passing to a greater sphere of mind will be gentle and easy.


Resting in the Eternal
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Jan. 21 and Mar. 17

I will take the most crowded day without fear.
I believe that God is with me,
       and controlling all.
I will let confidence be the motif
       running through all the crowded day.
I will not get worried,
       because I know that God is my helper.

Underneath are the everlasting arms.
I will rest in them, even though the day
       be full of things crowding in on me.

The eternal life is calmness
       and when you enter into that,
       then you live as an eternal being.
Calmness is based on complete trust in God.
Nothing in this world can separate you
       from the love of God.


From the Hindu Tradition

Look to this day,
       For it is life,
       The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
       The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth, the splendor of action,
       The glory of power --

For yesterday is but a dream,
       And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
       Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
       And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.


Fret Not Your Mind
Twenty-Four Hours a Day
December 3

Fret not your mind with puzzles that you cannot solve. The solutions may never be shown to you until you have left this life.
The loss of dear ones, the inequality of life, the deformed and the maimed, and many other puzzling things may not be known to you until you reach the life beyond.
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Only step by step, stage by stage, can you proceed in your journey into greater knowledge and understanding.
I pray that I may be content that things which I now see darkly will some day be made clear. I pray that I may have faith that someday I will see face to face.

To God Our Eternal Help

What pleasure is there in our life that is not mixed with sorrow? What glory on earth that lasts? All are more fleeting than shadows, and more deceitful than a dream! In one moment death takes all away.
But you, O God, in the light of your face, in the beauty of your holiness, give peace to our [brother] [sister] whom you have taken, for you love humankind.
All human things are vain since they cannot survive the grave: will riches survive, or glory attend us beyond the tomb? No! When death approaches, all these vanish.
Let us then cry out to God our eternal help, that he may give rest to [him] [her] who has departed from us, and the joy of eternal life.
Where are the affections of the world? Where are the vain dreams of delight? Where is gold or silver? Where is the multitude of servants and attendants? All is dust and ashes, or a shadow which passes away.
Brothers and sisters, let us then pray to God our eternal help and say, "O Lord, grant your blessings to your departed servant, and give rest to [his] [her] soul in the everlasting happiness of eternal life."
O God, grant rest to the soul of your servant that [he] [she] may repose in a place where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing, but everlasting life.
For you are our light, O God, from whom we came and to whom we shall return, and we send up glory to you, now and always and for ever and ever. AMEN.

We would like to give family and friends an opportunity to come up and say a few words if they wish.


St. Francis Prayer

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace

       --that where there is hatred, I may bring love
       --that where there is wrong, I may bring
                     the spirit of forgiveness
       --that where there is discord, I may bring harmony
       --that where there is error, I may bring truth

       --that where there is doubt, I may bring faith
       --that where there is despair, I may bring hope
       --that where there are shadows, I may bring light
       --that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather
       to comfort than to be comforted
       --to understand, than to be understood
       --to love, than to be loved.

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
       It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
       It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

Amen.


Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
       he makes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters,
       he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
       for his name's sake.

Even 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 prepare a table before me
       in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil,
       my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
       all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
       for ever.


Coming Home

Newcomers stumble into a twelve-step meeting, weeping and crying, as they choke out their story past their sobs. And finally someone in the group says quietly, "Welcome home." What does that little phrase mean? It means you're O.K. now, you're not lost anymore, you're not going to have to cry that way anymore -- though it's perfectly O.K. to cry -- but you're safe now, and we're going to get you all well again.

Wouldn't it be great to be at home with God, where all your tears will be wiped away? To be at home with yourself? Simply to be at home in the world, wherever you go? Because then you can enjoy anything and everything else that's really worth enjoying and appreciating. The theologians stood around outside and talked about God; the desert monks sat inside and dined with God.

Enter the way of living that leads us to being with God, to the healing power which works secretly within our souls, and does for us what we could never have done for ourselves.

Listen to the gentle laughter and look at the smiles on the faces of the good old-timers and hear the simple words with which they greet you when you arrive at their door: "Welcome home." They are but earthly channels, for it is God himself speaking to you, and telling you that you can lay down your burdens now, for you -- the wandering, lost child -- have come home at last. Amen.

 
As adapted for the funeral of a young
man who had committed suicide

Newcomers stumble into a twelve-step meeting, weeping and crying, as they choke out their story past their sobs. And finally someone in the group says quietly, “Welcome home.”

What does that little phrase mean? It means you’re O.K. now, you’re not lost anymore, you’re not going to have to cry that way anymore -- though it’s perfectly O.K. to cry -- but you’re safe now. You’re home.

Wouldn’t it be great to finally be at home in the same kind of way in God’s eternal realm, where all your tears will be wiped away, and you will be held safe in the everlasting arms forever?

The wandering, lost child has come home at last. Amen.
 


Requiem aeternam

O you who take away the sins of the world,
       grant [him] [her] eternal rest.
Let perpetual light shine upon [him] [her]
       together with your holy ones, for you are faithful.
Eternal rest grant unto [him] [her], O Lord,
       and let perpetual light shine upon [him] [her].

May the angels receive you in paradise,
       at your coming may those who bore witness
              with their blood receive you,
       and bring you into the holy City of Peace.
There may choirs of angels receive you,
       and with those who once were despised
              but now reign in glory,
       may you have eternal rest. AMEN.

Let us now conclude our prayers to God who loves our souls.


The Everlasting Arms
Deuteronomy 33:27 and St. Augustine Confessions 1.1

The eternal God is our dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
You have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you. AMEN.

Benediction

Hold us in your arms, O God, and console us in our hour of grief, and wipe away our tears.

May God's strength and love dwell within your hearts and give you peace, and courage to do all things needful in the days to come. AMEN


The Lord's Prayer

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 and the power
       and the glory forever. AMEN.





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© Copyright 2005 by Glenn C.: "To God Our Eternal Help" as adapted from the Eastern Orthodox funeral liturgy, "Coming Home" as adapted from Glenn C., The Higher Power of the Twelve-Step Program (pp. 185-186), and "Requiem aeternam" as adapted from the medieval Roman Catholic funeral mass.   The entire service is taken from the Hindsfoot Foundation website at http://hindsfoot.org/.   The copyrighted material may be copied and reproduced by others subject to the restrictions given at http://hindsfoot.org/copyright.html.

 
 
 
 
 



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