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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