Thursday, September 4, 2014


Recently I played a funeral service at my church, for the third time this summer.
The Episcopal Church, like many denominations, celebrates life--the life of the person who has died, and the life of the risen Lord. We follow the Easter liturgy, and the songs we sing are happy songs.

I first came across this kind of funeral service in the 1960s. My family were members of the Methodist Church at that time. I was quite attracted to the celebration of life service; it bore no resemblance to the tear-laden, gloomy services of my youth. And to me, celebration made great sense.
Yes, we are sad that the person we loved, respected, revered has passed on from this life. We mourn the loss of a valuable person who added to society in many ways, great and small. But we are joyful in the promise of new life that person will enjoy. Whether we call it heaven, or being with God, or some other phrase, it will be a new life.

Many people ask me if I’m comfortable playing for funerals.
Yes, I am. Each time I play the familiar songs and hear the familiar readings, I am comforted.

Here is a prayer I’d like to share with you. It is a well-known prayer, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but was, according to experts and archivists, written centuries later by an unknown writer in Normandy, during World War I.

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis
by an anonymous Norman c. 1915 A.D. Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


I wish you peace this day.


1 comment:

  1. It's the loveliest of prayers, no matter who first wrote it. Nice post, Judith.