08 February 2012

Thinking more about the quote from Stephenson

The commemoration of the faithful departed has always been near and dear to my heart.  There is something so beautiful, so joyous about recognizing that drawing near to our Lord in His Eucharist we draw near to all who are "in Him" - and whether they are breathing or not is utterly irrelevant to whether they are LIVING or not.  "The dead do not praise the Lord; the living, the living praise the Lord." Psalm 115:17

And that brings me to mention a resource that is way too often overlooked.  If you pull out your Lutheran Service Book Agenda, pages 151-153, you will find Resources for the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed.  The first rubric notes that these propers may be used on the anniversary of a person's death, for a memorial service or at other appropriate times.  Also that they do not replace a Sunday or Feast day's propers.

I think some of these resources are worth copying out.  Here's the collect:

Almighty God, in whose glorious presence live all who depart in the Lord, we give You hearty thanks for You lovingkindness to all Your servants who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labors.  We humbly implore Your mercy that we, together with all who have departed in the saving faith, may have our perfect consummation in both body and soul in Your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ...

During the Prayer of the Church, the following is offered:

In joyful expectation of the resurrection to life eternal, we remember before the Lord our departed family and friends who have gone before us in the faith and all those who are in our hearts and minds today.

After the names are read, then this prayer:

Almighty God, we remember with thanksgiving those who have loved and served You in Your Church on earth and who now rest from their labors.  Keep us in fellowship with all Your saints, and bring us at last to the joy of Your heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The proper preface is as follows:

It is truly good, right, and salutary, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whom the hope of the blessed resurrection shines forth so that those who mourn may be consoled with the promise of eternal life.  In You, O Lord, life is transformed and not taken away so that this earthly body is prepared for an eternal home in heaven.  Therefore with angels and archangels...

Would that we utilized the resources here a bit more in comforting the mourning!

1 comment:

David Garner said...

Indeed. Prayers for the departed remind us that we are not separated from Heaven as if by a wall (or ceiling -- Father Stephen Freeman is fond of referring to the Christian view of the universe as a "one storey universe"). The departed are our friends. And they are no less the Church than are we.

My family prayed the prayers for the dead to commemorate a friend from our former parish this evening. It was a great comfort. Thank you for this post.