The funeral service is the largest and arguably the most important component that we mentioned above. For the most part when people think about a traditional funeral service, people tend to imagine a Christian style funeral. A traditional funeral service has long been associated with religion. To further illustrate the funeral service component, we will examine it through the lens of a Christian style funeral. However, please remember that you can still have a traditional funeral that is not Christian.
Breakdown of a Christian Funeral Service
A Christian funeral follows the 4 parts that we touched on above: the visitation, funeral service, committal service and finally the funeral reception. The funeral service part is where most of the specific Christian rituals take place. The funeral service is similar to any other Christian mass, however, with a few nuances. The main purpose of a Christian funeral service is to pray for the deceased, and to provide support to the grieving family.
The funeral service starts with guests entering the church or chapel. It is recommended that guests arrive about 15-20 minutes prior to the start of the service to be respectful. There is then a small procession down the main aisle of the church by the immediate family and the pallbearers who are carrying the casket. In most instances, the casket will be placed in front of the altar, and the immediate family and pallbearers sit at the very front. Once everyone has gathered, the priest will give an opening statement that is either a prayer, a statement of support for the family, or a combination of both. After the opening statement, the mass officially begins. A traditional funeral service typically includes scripture readings from the Bible, a homily from the priest, prayers, and hymns. A homily or sermon is a speech given by the priest after the scripture has been read. The Priest will provide insight into the scripture readings and will relate it to the life of the deceased. Generally, the family will choose close relatives or friends to say the prayers and the scripture readings. The funeral service often concludes with the delivery of the eulogy. The eulogy typically covers the deceased’s life, his/her values, personality, accomplishments, etc.
Since there are many sects of Christianity there will be small differences between a catholic funeral compared to a Lutheran funeral, but for the most part the funeral rituals remain the same.
Popular Christian Funeral Hymns