What would happen if your memorial service was a truly unique experience for those who attended? Consider these observations:
- Most memorial services are buried in words—the verbal outpourings of grieving others who try to find just the right way to express an avalanche of emotions that show themselves in an avalanche of verbiage or platitudes.
- What would happen if your or my memorial service was quiet, invoking memories and imagination in the souls of those attending?
- Besides the usual spiritual truths, what would happen if the service was also about commissioning or inviting worshippers to live as God has given them time and gifts? (This is also a core spiritual truth!)
- What if the service was less about the dearly departed—long recitations of our noble and godly lives—and more about those attending? Their character traits and their lives from this point on!
- I would love to attend a memorial service where worshippers had a chance to witness to each other, to encourage and motivate each other. Folks would enter as strangers but leave as friends!
- I’m interested in not-the-usual hymns, Dixieland music, the brass choir canzonas of the Gabrielli’s or the mystical, approachable beauty of repetitive Taizé songs.
- Besides grieving, what other emotions are readily available to worshippers? What emotions do they already bring along—just waiting to be shared with others?
These thoughts may seem to border apostasy—as though memorial services are sacrosanct, their substance untouchable except by those trained in these matters. I don’t think so, which is why I encourage you to join me in thinking outside the nine dots (or the box) and to plan a memorial or funeral service that does more than heap praise on your or my departed body.
It’s one way to live—and die—full of years!