Eulogy for a Funeral
How a Funeral Helps With Grief
Planning Luncheons After Funerals
Environmentally Friendly Funerals
How Afterlife Beliefs Affect Funerals
Funerals for Famous People
Funerals Around The World
Funeral Director Licenses
Tips for Creating a Memorable Experience at Your Loved Ones Funeral
Choosing the right funeral readings can be an arduous task. It can be tough knowing even where to begin. Here is a short guide that will, perhaps, spur some ideas and lead to a memorable part of your loved one’s memorial service.
In general, funeral readings should express a few things, such as what qualities you want your audience to remember about your loved one, and how they can deal with their grief. Moreover, an especially touching funeral reading can greatly help answer what epitaph to use for one's final rememrance, such as a cemetery grave stone or other tribute, such as a memorial garden rock.
Funeral readings can stem from a wide variety of sources. There are many potential funeral readings from the Bible, such as Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd...”) Psalm 91 ("He who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide in the shadow of the almighty...") and Matthew 28: 5-7. ("You are looking for Jesus, he is not here, he is risen, just as he said...") However, there are many other valuable sources for funeral readings as well.
One of the funeral readings that you might consider for example is the last paragraph of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which says "Tomorrow we will run faster, we will stretch our arms further, and then one day, so shall we be, like ships beating back against the past." Along with this, as one of your funeral readings, you might consider how you and your audience will now "run faster, and stretch their arms further," because of your loved one's legacy. Perhaps if you decide to use this as one of your funeral readings, and you lost a friend, you might consider how your friend may have, like Gatsby, gone beyond all expectations and given selflessly of him or herself.
Shakespeare's Sonnets might also make good funeral readings, especially if your loved one died in old age. The Sonnets are full of Shakespeare's thoughts about growing old, and you could use these funeral readings to describe how gracefully your loved one aged.
If your loved one served as a veteran of a foreign war, Henry V's speech at Agincourt in Shakespeare's play named after him might be a good edition to your funeral readings, especially when he says before going into battle, "Old men forget, yet shall all be forgot, but he'll remember with advantages what feats he did this day. Then shall our names, familiar in his mouth like household words...be in their flowing cups freshly remembered." Along with your funeral readings, you might discuss how your loved one's heroic deeds in war have protected freedom in America and around the world.
T.S. Eliot's poem, "I had seen birth and death, but thought they were different," could be one of you funeral readings as well. You could discuss how death, like birth is not the end, but only the beginning of something new in your life, the life of the audience, and if you believe in an afterlife, the life of your loved one.
If you have difficulty finding funeral readings that fit your liking, you might consider asking someone familiar with literature, such as an English professor. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is also an easy to use reference that is sure to help you not only in finding funeral readings, but also as you consider quotes on virtually any other aspect of life as well.
A few words of advice on funeral readings however.
First, as with anything else, you should consult your family and other participants in the funeral. Perhaps they know a favorite book or poem that, while not relating directly to death or the glory of a life well lived was nonetheless influential in your loved one's life. If any funeral readings do not relate to the immediate proceedings however, you should needless to say, explain them further in your eulogy.
Second, make double sure that your funeral readings will be understandable to everyone in attendance. Bear in mind that some names familiar to older audience members may not be as familiar to the younger. Along those lines, make sure that your funeral readings are not too long and drawn out, or require too much background information.
Finally, while all funeral readings can have a certain amount of poignancy, including a great many funeral readings can cause the sentiment to lose its effect, and are likely to be remembered by your audience more for how long they were than what they actually said. Choose carefully two or three funeral readings and go with that. Besides, remember that other aspects of the service (e.g. hymns, inspirational songs, eulogies, etc...) will also convey the feelings that you had for your loved one and wish to express to the audience.