Planning my Christian funeral
Last Friday, a classmate of mine, Pastor Gregg Bitter, was called home to heaven when he suffered a massive heart attack. I thank Pastor Peters for filling in for me on Wednesday night for worship and Bible study so I could attend Pastor Bitter’s visitation and funeral in Rice Lake.
After singing “In Christ Alone” during the funeral, I wrote a note to share some thoughts with you about funeral planning. Pastor Bitter was only 47. He was in relatively good health. He left behind a wife and three children. We never know when the Lord will call us home.
After dad dies, mom and the children go to the funeral home the next day to start funeral preparations. It would be good for you to meet with the funeral home now, while you are still in good health, to start making those preparations – location of the funeral and visitation (at church or the funeral home), a casket and burial plot or cremation, etc.
Then the family meets with the pastor to plan the funeral service. If you have attended a funeral that I have conducted for one of our members, you know that I like to talk about the life of our Christian loved one from rebirth in baptism, through confirmation, marriage, worship, and falling asleep in Jesus in death. I also want to have Scripture lessons and hymns that have had meaning for our member throughout his or her life. But many times the family doesn’t know dad’s baptism date, confirmation verse, favorite hymns or Bible passages.
I have also created a link for you to download "Planning My Christian Funeral" from Dropbox.
My suggestion is for you to print it, fill it out, discuss it with your family, and then make two copies – one to keep in your safe and the other to give to the church office. Don’t delay in doing this. I speak from experience – it is a help if you have everything planned for your family. They are already grieving. Then they are asked to plan, research, and guess at issues then had never considered.
I have included some other helpful links in your preparations:
A devotional study on choosing funeral hymns.
Medicaldirective statements from Christian Life Resources
You can also contact Mr. Rick Kneser, who is a WELS Planned Giving Counselor. He will help you write a will. I am working with him right now on our will.