How To Choose A Reading For A Funeral
A funeral service is, for many people, a chance for many people to celebrate the life of someone they hold very dear and because of this, people want to choose particular parts of a funeral order of service that suit the life and times of their loved one the best.
This can include the music or hymns that are played and sung by the congregation, the components of the service, the speeches, eulogies and tributes as well as the readings both in terms of how many are said and which ones.
In some cases, your loved one may have left their request in their last will and testament or started to make arrangements during their lifetime for particular statements or readings they would like at their funeral, but here are some tips for choosing an appropriate reading.
Religious Or Non-Religious
The main determining factor for particular readings is whether the funeral ceremony is religious or not, which can affect the types of readings that are suitable.
In practice, religious passages can still be read at a non-religious ceremony such as a celebration of life, but this will depend on the wishes of the deceased and their family.
Popular Religious Passage Topics
The former can consist of scripture readings, psalms and prayers that were either meaningful to the person’s life or provide comfort to the congregation in attendance.
These can include, for example:
- Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 – “To every thing there is a season…”
- John 14: 1-6 – “Let not your heart be troubled…”
- Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd…”
However, as every person is unique, there are many passages that have special meaning to how they lived and so you should not feel limited to more popular readings and passages.
Choosing Readings For Comfort
For celebrations of life, you can choose from practically any book that has ever been written, hire someone to write a poem or draft one yourself, with the key direction being that these passages should provide some level of comfort to the congregation attending the ceremony.
They often, although they do not always, cover topics that are comforting, such as continuing journeys, enduring ideas, beauty (especially natural beauty) and remembrance.
There are so many passages and poems that could be included here, but some popular ones include:
- Roads Go Ever On, J.R.R. Tolkein
- Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
- Epitaph On My Own Friend, Robert Burns
Choosing A Favourite Passage
Most people have a favourite poem, or a favourite book or a favourite song, and unless they are particularly unsuitable in terms of subject matter, they are often the best way to remember and celebrate a person’s life.
Capturing what someone means to you can be exceptionally difficult at times but often a person’s favourite writer or poet will capture their worldview and find a way to express feelings that you may not have the words for during a period of grief.
Ultimately, the more personal the passage choice is, the more meaningful the reading will become.