God be in my head and in my understanding,
God be in my eyes and in my looking,
God be in my mouth and in my speaking,
God be in my heart and in my thinking,
God be in my end and at my departing.
- Old English Prayer
A Funeral is at the same time a farewell and a homecoming. It is not simply a celebration of life, nor is it an event of complete sorrow. Human beings are complex creatures, and the church understands that when someone we love dies, we need the space—and the permission—to do both: to give thanks and to grieve, to laugh and to cry, to acknowledge the reality of the tomb and celebrate the victory of the resurrection.
Every human being is loved by God, and every person deserves an honorable farewell. We do not make distinctions about who may and may not be buried “in the church.” God’s embrace is much wider than our eyes can see or imagine. If someone has been a part of a Christian community, it is especially appropriate that their farewell take place in the church, where their family and friends can gather around and take comfort in the symbols of their faith. Funerals at First Lutheran Church almost always take place within a service of the Eucharist at the church, and conclude with a service of Committal at the person’s final resting place. Cremation is permitted in the Lutheran Church and arrangements can be made for any extenuating circumstances.
If a person is gravely ill and death seems near, the Pastor should be contacted so that the Commendation of the Dying can be administered—a simple rite of prayer in which we who remain on earth commend or “hand off” our loved one into the hands of our loving God.
If you have no church home and desire Christian burial for your loved one, please contact the Pastor.