In the latter part of the 15th century, Martin Luther, a German, was one of many
who objected to the Roman Catholic teaching that one is saved by faith and good works.
In contrast, he believed in being saved by simply following Jesus. He also believed
that the church should conduct services in the languages of its peoples and that
the clergy should be able to marry. In response, the Church ousted Luther who then
founded the Lutheran Church.
The faith spread across Germany and the Scandinavian countries.
Lutherans regard death as a new beginning. They believe that those who have faith
are assured eternal life with God. At the service, guests are ushered to seating.
If arriving late, they do not enter during the procession or prayer. A pastor presides
over the service and reads from the Lutheran Book of Worship or The Lutheran Hymnal
of Lutheran Worship. Christians are expected to fully participate, but non-Christians
need not kneel, sing or pray with them. If interested in recording the service, permission
should be received from the pastor prior to the service. There are no specific rituals
for observing the anniversary of the death.
A Lutheran funeral service includes:
· Hymns - A funeral service normally has three or four hymns, one at the beginning
and at the end of the service, and one or two in the middle, usually before and after
· Eulogy - A eulogy -- now often called a tribute -- should be short and to the
point. Eulogies / tributes are not required elements in a Lutheran funeral service. However,
the goal of a eulogy, if present, is to give a brief summary of the individual’s
life in Christ and present the hope and faith they had in life. Should the family
desire such a tribute, guidelines have been agreed upon by the elders. If a eulogy
/ tribute is required, the elders request that families put together a eulogy / tribute
which the Pastors can then read in the funeral service. Alternately, families may
wish to have family members or others read eulogies / tributes after funeral guests
are seated in the Parish Hall, before the funeral luncheon begins.
· Introduction - The Pastor’s greeting to the worshipers, including a reference
to Romans 6:3-5.
· Litany - The service includes responses between Pastor and congregation.
· Old Testament Reading, often the 23rd Psalm.
· Responses to the Readings - Again spoken by Pastor and congregation.
· A solo may be part of the worship service. Please speak with one of the pastors
as to the choice of music.
· A New Testament Reading Often Revelation 21:1-7.
· A Gospel Reading Usually John 11:17-27.
· Apostles’ Creed - A brief statement of the Christian faith.
· Pastor’s Message
· Prayers and Lord’s Prayer
· Commendation - Commending the deceased to the Lord’s care and keeping.
· Benediction and Blessing
· A note about the internment or cremation is usually printed in the worship folder.
· A note about memorials helps family and friends direct memorial gifts according
to the family’s wishes.
CHOICE OF HYMNS
When families meet with the Pastor, they are asked to suggest hymns
for the worship service. Here are some hymns that are often used in Christian funerals.