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POEMS & READINGS

Each of us is unique. In planning a memorial service, consider what is most meaningful to you. Including poems, religious readings or song lyrics at a service can add a special touch and leave a lasting impression. Some examples follow.

Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thessalonians 4:13-17

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not..
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grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Corinthians 4:16-15:8

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day
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by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

At the Grave of a Brother or Sister

O merciful God, standing here at the grave of my dear brother (sister), I fondly recollect the happy years we spent
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together, sharing the love and traditions of our home and family. Alas! death claimed thee too soon, and removed thee too early from those who loved thee. Though Thou hast called him (her) back, O God, I shall always hold sacred memories of his (her) kindness and sincerity, love and devotion. O Lord, grant that the recollections of his (her) life provide an incentive to righteous living. I place my trust in Thee who are the source of all life and my strength in time of sorrow. Though a link has been severed from our family chain, help me, O God, to be more closely united with those dear ones who remain. May the soul of my beloved brother (sister) be bound up in the bond of eternal life together with the souls of all the righteous that are in Thy keeping. Amen.

At the Grave of a Husband

O God, behold and see the sorrow of my heart. Widowed and bereft I mourn the loss of the dear companion of my
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heart. Thou sleep beneath this tomb, dear husband, and while thou cannot hear me, neither can thou see my tears. My existence is now a void, joy and happiness have fled with thee, and I must bear the burden of life alone, for thy hand can no longer protect me, nor my heart repose on thine. All is cold and sorrow, and I come to pour out my grief at thy grave.

May God support me in this heavy trial, may He in mercy pardon the words of bitterness which have escaped from my widowed heart. O God, protect my bereaved children, deprived of their earthly father’s care. Heavenly Father, extend thy omnipotent protection, and inspire them with a love of duty and fidelity to our faith, and veneration for their father’s memory.

I pray, O Lord, that the precious memories of our happy years together, may ever be an incentive to noble and sanctified living. May my endeavors to practice what is good atone for my errors, and be accepted in order to assume the salvation of my soul.

Father of all, grant that the soul of my beloved husband be bound up in the bond of eternal life, together with the souls of all the righteous that are in Thy keeping. Amen.