…Neither death, nor life…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8.38-39)
Death is real, and the experience of it comes, sooner or later, to everyone. For our loved ones who have died, we are confident that “they rest from their labors” (Rev. 14.13) and are present with the Lord. For those who remain, grief is normal and needs to be expressed. Mourning heals even while it hurts. Trusting Christians will find that their grief is tempered by the assurance of God’s Emmanuel presence through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. Remember our Lord’s words: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Mt. 5.4). A truly Christian funeral works through our sense of loss, our resentment, our guilt, our regret – all for our comfort and spiritual growth.
The Christian funeral at a Presbyterian church is conducted to celebrate, first, our hope in the resurrection to eternal life, and also, a celebration for the life of our relative or friend. The service gives strength to the bereaved by calling together the community of faith for support, and by reaffirming our confidence in the promises of God.
The promise of eternal life in Christ is based not upon a person’s worth or innate goodness, but upon the graciousness of God alone, who loved us first (I John.4.19) with an everlasting and steadfast love. Christians can therefore commend to God’s loving care those who die, trusting that by God’s grace all who truly believe in Jesus Christ are raised from death to life eternal.
Contact our pastor to discuss a funeral service (when the casket is present but closed) or a memorial service (when the body has been cremated or donated to research). Both the pastor and the faith community at Bethlehem are here for you in these times of great loss.