Readings for a funeral

January 9, 2015

What do you read at a funer­al? Some­thing sec­u­lar, some­thing reli­gious?

The fam­ily tra­di­tion was ritu­al-free indus­tri­al incin­er­a­tion. Organ record­ing, coffin slips behind vel­vet cur­tain in the coun­cil crem­at­ori­um.

My reli­gious belief per­ished dur­ing singing psalms to empty pews. But bur­ied in the bible are frag­ments of prac­tic­al advice that have sus­tained human beings for a very long time.

So today, this is what I will read at my sister’s funer­al, adap­ted from the King James Bible:

16 …[L]et teares fall downe ouer the dead, and begin to lament, as if thou hadst suffered great harme thy selfe: and then couer her body accord­ing to the cus­tome, & neg­lect not her buri­all.

17 Weepe bit­terly, and make great moane, and vse lam­ent­a­tion, as shee is worthy, and that a day or two, lest thou be euill spoken of: and then com­fort thy selfe for thy heau­inesse.

18 For of heau­inesse com­meth death, and the heau­inesse of the heart, break­eth strength.

19 In afflic­tion also sor­row remaineth: and the life of the poore, is the curse of the heart.

20 Take no heau­ines to heart: dri­ue it away, and remem­ber the last end.

21 For­get it not, for there is no turn­ing againe: thou shalt not doe her good, but hurt thy selfe.

22 Remem­ber my iudge­ment: for thine also shall be so; yes­ter­day for me, and to day for thee.

23 When the dead is at rest, let her remem­brance rest, & be com­for­ted for her, when her spir­it is depar­ted from her.

Grieve. Move on. Live again.

Easi­er in the acknow­ledge­ment than the adop­tion, but good, stoic­al advice.

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