Love is Strong as Death
A Memorial Service
Leader: God of time and eternity, we have gathered in your presence at this time to honor the memories of those who lived among us and are gone on to eternity in the past year. In our knowledge of death, we stand in the presence of the incomprehensible. But we recognize that your presence encompasses us in every phase of our lives, from birth to death, from death to eternity. Therefore we rejoice in the One who walks with us every step of our way, in this life and the life to come, even Jesus the Christ. Amen.
I Corinthians 15:50-58
“Shall We Gather at the River” (The United Methodist Hymnal no. 723)
Reading of the Names of Those Who Have Passed On
(Light a candle after each name is read, or play a chord on the piano, or ring a bell.)
Litany: Love is strong as death
Leader: Holy God, we have come here to thank you for the sacredness of life.
All: God of life, we have come to thank you for the sacredness of each one of us who are present here and the memories of those who no longer are in our midst.
Leader: God who is love, we thank you for the life of those who have passed on into eternity.
All: Owner of our lives, we thank you for the hallowed moments they spent with their families, United Methodist Women’s family and their church family.
Leader: God of comfort, we recognize the holes their absence has left among us — the holes of missing mothers, sisters and counselors.
All: God of healing, we recognize the void left in our mission work because of their absence.
Leader: We do believe that love is as strong as death.
All: And death does not have the final word.
Leader: Therefore I ask you to share the gifts those women and men brought to us—gifts of love, gifts of laughter, gifts of watchfulness.
(Ask the congregation to share the name of the person and one gift that they brought to their family or friends or mission. Give a couple of minutes for sharing.)
Leader: Gift-giving God, those who have gone ahead of us touch us across the distance by the various gifts they have left behind for us.
All: Keeper and healer of memories, transform these memories into sustenance and healing for our spirit.
Leader: Risen Savior, we are a Resurrection People who carry on our journey, strengthened by your love and our love for one another.
All: Christ, our Resurrection and Life, give us the grace to hallow life’s span with love for you and love for each other in this pilgrim journey.
“Hymn of Promise” (The United Methodist Hymnal no. 707)
Closing Prayer (in unison)
God, our eternal home, may our lives be enriched by the good examples and legacies of those whom we remember today. May our lives be found worthy by you, O Christ, so that when the final roll call comes, we too will be embraced by your grace and led into your eternal and joyous presence. Until that day, enable us to work for your kingdom here on earth and make a difference in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Glory E. Dharmaraj is the director of spiritual formation and mission theology for United Methodist Women.