Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mindful of mortality

From the instructions "Regarding Christian Death and Burial" in The Book of Common Prayer 2019:
The burial of a Christian is an occasion of both sorrow and joy—our sorrow in the face of death, and our joy in Jesus' promise of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. As the burial liturgy proclaims, "life is changed, not ended; and when our mortal body lies in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens."

The Christian burial liturgy looks forward to eternal life rather than backward to past events. It does not primarily focus on the achievements or failures of the deceased; rather, it calls us to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and his triumph over death, even as we celebrate the life and witness of the deceased.

The readings should always be drawn from the Bible, and the prayers and music from the Christian tradition. A wake preceding the service and a reception following the service are appropriate places for personal remembrances. Where possible, the burial liturgy is conducted in a church....

The Book of Common Prayer has always admonished Christians to be mindful of their mortality. It is therefore the duty of all Christians, as faithful stewards, to draw up a Last Will and Testament, making provision for the well-being of their families and not neglecting to leave bequests for the mission of the Church. In addition, it is important while in health to provide direction for one's own funeral arrangements, place of burial, and the Scripture readings and hymns of the burial liturgy, and to make them known to the Priest. (emphases added)
The Book of Common Prayer 2019

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