Opening Hymn: Amazing Grace,
Welcome to our prayer and memorial service this evening. I have
been asked to be the prayer leader tonight. We are volunteers from
Christian denominations in our Lakeland
area who are prepared to visit those who are homebound, those who
are sick, or to offer our help at a time of bereavement. In this
way we will try to bring Christ's healing presence into our community.
We also felt we wanted to do something for all the members of our
community who are feeling the sorrow of loss, whether that loss
happened last week, a year ago, or even 40 years ago.
Our service tonight will be quite simple. We want to bring God's presence
into our midst by recalling his words from Sacred Scripture and by
reflecting on the meaning of those words for us gathered here tonight.
We want to present our prayers and our need for healing to our God.
We want to reverently call forth the names of those we have lost, and
whose absence still causes us pain. We want to express our faith that
God's love for them and for us is greater than death.
We have chosen several symbols as part of our service tonight:
The first symbol is created by all of us gathered here. As a community
of people sharing faith and supporting each other in our grief, we
are a sign of the real presence of our God in our world.
The second symbol will be the names you write on the cards you received
when you came tonight. These names symbolise the lives of those we
mourn, what we shared with them, and all that they mean to us.
The third symbol is the Easter or Pascal Candle which is burning in
front of us. This candle is blessed and first lit in the darkness of
the solemn Easter Vigil. The flame represents the Risen Lord Jesus,
and on that night, the light from this candle was passed on to individual
candles held by all those who came to worship. As the light is spread,
we testified to our belief that the victory of Jesus over death is
also our victory, because the Father has called us to be adopted sons
and daughters. Tonight you will take the small tea candle and light
it from the flame of this Easter candle. That small candle will represent
the people we are remembering tonight, and it will be our testimony
that we believe they have found new life in God.
The fourth symbol will be all of the small candles as they are placed
and gathered on the stylized tree which serves as our candle stand.
You may remember that God appeared to Moses in a burning bush that
was not consumed by the flames. Our lives, our pain, our prayers and
our memories are gathered to become a sign of God's presence in our
midst. We pray for his healing, for his comfort, and for his strength
as we remember, and as we go on with our lives.
Let us now listen to God's words speaking to us from Sacred Scripture:
God of our life,
there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and
weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and
endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have
no music in them and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost
Flood the path with light, turn our eyes to where the skies are full
of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship
with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that
we may be able to encourage the souls of all those who journey with
us on the road of life , to your honour and glory.
[Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo]
Old Testament Reading:
Isaiah 40: 1-8
comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and
cry to her that she
has served her term, and that her penalty is
paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all
A voice cries
the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the
desert a highway for our God. Every valley
shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven
ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory
of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together,
mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall
I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower
of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath
of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers,
the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
The word of the Lord...
Song: Be Not Afraid,
John : 14; 1-6
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe
also in me. In my father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place
for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again
and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
to him, “Lord.
We do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
to him, “I
am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father
except through me.”
The Gospel of the Lord...
Reflection on readings:
Lighting of Candles
[After names have been spoken and the candles lit,
there will be meditation music from John Michael Talbot]
God, creator and
sustainer of all life, be with us tonight as we remember those you
have given to us in love, and who have now
returned to your heavenly embrace. Remember the sorrow you felt
as your Son died on the Cross. Remember the sorrow Jesus felt at
of his friends, and remember your promise to send us your Holy
Spirit to comfort us in our sorrow.
Our response to the petition prayers will be:
let the light of your love shine on the sadness in our hearts.”
1. For all of us who grieve the loss of parents or grandparents, may
we appreciate the life and love which they gave us, and may we have
the comfort of knowing that their reward is eternal life with you,
We pray to the Lord....
2. For all of us who grieve the loss of a child, may we remember the
hope and joy that they brought to us for such a brief time and may
we find some comfort in knowing that you have become the complete fulfilment
of their lives, We pray to the Lord...
3. For all of us who grieve the loss of a spouse, may we celebrate
the joys we shared with them, forgive ourselves and them for the wrongs
that happened in our relationship, and find comfort in the sure knowledge
that your love for them is still much greater than our own, We pray
to the Lord....
4. For all of us who grieve the loss of a friend or companion in life,
may we remember more and more each day the love we shared, and may
they know with joy how much their friendship meant to us, We pray to
5. For all of us who grieve the loss of other people who have given
of themselves for our benefit, may we learn to show our appreciation
for these gifts by modelling them for others, We pray to the Lord...
6. For all of us who grieve the loss of millions of men, women and
children, who have died in all wars, and whose deaths have impoverished
our humanity, may we strengthen our resolve to bring your justice and
love in this world and so prevent future wars. We pray to the Lord....
7. For all of us who grieve the deaths of millions who are victims
of poverty, hunger and natural disaster, may we learn to completely
believe in our common humanity, and thereafter resolve to do all we
can to reduce suffering in this world. We pray to the Lord....
8. For all of us who grieve the loss of our own youth and of our own
good health, may we not be troubled by looking backward, but rather
seek the blessings and joys of each day that you give us, We pray to
9. For all of us who grieve the lost opportunities in our lives and
in our relationships, may our regrets end and may we seek forgiveness
where it is needed, and then give us help to move onward in the light
of your continuing love, We pray to the Lord...
10. For all of us who hurt in too many ways to recount, and from causes
even we find hard to identify, may the healing of our God come into
our lives and into the lives of all those we cherish, We pray to the
11. For all of us as we struggle under the mounting burden of many
losses, of much sorrow, and of crushing pain, may we look to your
love and your Son's own resurrection as the source of our hope, comfort
and spiritual joy, We pray to the Lord....
Leader: Father of all hope, and source of all comfort, be with us
in our pain, enfold us in the warmth of your love and help us to look
forward to that day when we will all come together with new life and
new joy in our heavenly home. We ask this through Jesus Christ our
Lord's Prayer ALL
Closing Prayer ALL
God of all consolation, in your unending love and mercy you turn the
darkness of death into the dawn of new life. Show compassion to your
people in their sorrow. Be our refuge and our strength to lift us from
the darkness of grief to the peace and light of your presence.
Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, by dying for us, conquered death and
by rising again restored life. May we then go forward eagerly to meet
Him, and after our life on earth be reunited with our brothers and
sisters where every tear will be wiped away. We ask this through Jesus
Christ, the Lord. AMEN.
Closing hymn: “Jesus