Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live" (John 11.25). Christians live in the sure and certain hope of eternal life. The death of a loved one is a very sad and painful event. But we also rejoice in the promises that God has given us in Jesus.
God created our bodies and by faith made them temples of His Holy Spirit. When we die, our spirit departs to be with the Lord (Ecclesiastes 12.7). At the time of death Christians gather together to hear God's word and to lovingly lay to rest the remains of our brother or sister to await the resurrection.
When a loved one is seriously ill, we strongly encourage families to call for one of the pastors to visit at home or in the hospital. Through Bible studies and sermons Christians learn to face death in faith. But when a person is near death it is important to surround them with all the help that we can provide, both medically and spiritually.
At the time of death one of the pastors will meet with the family to focus on God's word and to seek His help during this very painful time. When the family is ready the pastor can meet to plan the funeral service. You may use a Funeral Pre-Planning Sheet. These can be prepared far in advance and kept on file at the Church Office if you wish.
Many family members come together for funerals. While the worship service is the most important part of the healing, most families have a visitation that allows friends and relatives to view the body and share their prayers and words of encouragement.
Like the visitation, a funeral luncheon can be held giving family and friends further opportunities for encouragement. Luncheons may be held at Good Shepherd. Normally we ask the family to cover the costs of luncheon meat and bread. Members of Good Shepherd will provide additional dishes, desserts, and drinks. Families may make a donation to the Lutheran Women's Missionary League (sponsoring group for funeral luncheons).
Good Shepherd sponsors ongoing support for families through GriefShare. GriefShare is a Christian support program for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one through death. For information about GriefShare contact Parish Nurse Lynn Cook.