The Fun and the Non-Fun of Funeral Readings



One of the real problems of doing funerals is finding readings that reflect life in 21st Century,  and that sound appropriate for this day and age. I am constantly using Ecclesiastes 3v1-8, the one that goes like this:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the sky.”It’s a great piece, like the Beatitudes, but it seems to have been (excuse the pun) done to death, it’s just used for funerals too much for my liking, however amazing it is.

Today I had this horrendous job of filing, with papers seemingly 20 foot high and boxes and bundles and files and flimflam to the power of 10, and in my desperation I waded through a zillion papers, filing as I went, and after gathering speed, the speed of a snail that is, as well as umpteen copies of readings for weddings and funerals and babyoid blessings, I suddenly realised I didn’t need to keep on using the Ecclesiastes piece, so I wrote something that says something similar, and maybe just developing the thought in another direction, that felt right. I don’t know whether it was an excuse to get out of filing, but I think it sounds like something ‘of the moment’ and though it may not be so beautiful, it is an alternative to that elegantly scripted text of around 2,000 years ago. Please excuse the spacing, try as I might… I can’t get the text to do single spacing after a carriage return:

And when we remember

Those moments in life

When we saw joy –

An accidental meeting of minds

Perfect laughter

Sunset on the hills

A great bird in flight

Then we knew

That everything has its moment


And when we recall

Those days of happiness

When we danced by the sea

Hugged our beloved

Sang with friends

Walked in peace

Then we knew

That everything has its place

Its most perfect moment


And when we looked back

And recalled the days

When sorrow visited us

Dressed in black

And the one we loved

Was not as we knew them

Then we understood

That everything happens

And all things have their chosen time


And now we might say:

We understand

That kindness, patience and compassion

Beauty and the unspoken

All have their moment –

In light

In darkness

In laughter

In sorrow

In the heart

And in the mind


But it is love, above all things

That stays with us

Transcending time

Surpassing space

Endless and eternal

That always has its moment



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