A couple of weeks ago, in our Sunday service, my minister spent some time talking about death rituals through the centuries, and more especially about Christian funerals. He advocated that we fill out something he referred to as an “Omega File,” a document of what a person wants to be said at their own funeral. Not a popular or comfortable subject, he noted, but important. I appreciated him saying that it was our last opportunity to be a witness to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Personally I would be pleased if my own funeral came straight out of the Book of Common Prayer’s Order for the Burial of the Dead. It expresses perfectly the hope of my life. I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of “celebration of life” ceremonies…my own quirk. I do not think they are wrong though, after all the person’s life IS a gift and should be celebrated too, and I so enjoy hearing personal remembrances from those closest to the deceased. I’ve also observed that it is sometimes helpful for the family to have a chance to honor their loved one.
After our church service someone said to me “Well, now we are supposed to plan our own funerals too.” My reply was that when my mother died she left instructions about her funeral, which was a gift also to her family because we knew how to really honor her and her faith. Mom’s Pastor Dave included EVERY thing Mom suggested, which wasn’t necessary, but it endeared him to me for always. (She had suggested a number of hymns and if we didn’t sing them they were printed in the bulletin). Another point of my own is that family members do not necessarily share our faith, so if we want to be sure our funeral is Christian we need to plan for it.
Here is the simple Omega File form our church has on file (it is evident we are primarily a retirement community):