The Sacramental Life: Christian Burial of the Dead
Give rest, O Christ,
to your servant(s) with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.
-From the burial liturgy.
"The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that 'neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.' This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn." -- Book of Common Prayer, page 507
In time, all people die. As Christians, we hope in the resurrection of Christ, which has shown to us that death is no longer a final end, but is the glorious continuation of the human soul towards God in heaven. The body will be resurrected at the Last Day, but between now and that point, we pray that the person who has died will continue on their journey towards God.
The burial service of the Episcopal Church is one of the most beautiful of all liturgies in the Christian world. We give thanks for the blessing we have received from knowing the deceased. We pray that God will have mercy on him or her and that the angels and saints will receive our brother or sister into the blessed company of the faithful. Our liturgy is hopeful while making room for our sorrow.
When a person dies, the family and friends of the person are often overwhelmed. We encourage you to make your funeral preparations now and to leave a copy of your plans with your priest. Rev. Mary is available to help with these preparations.