Friday, January 06, 2012

An Episcopal Funeral.

A former colleague passed away and some of us went to his funeral today.  Lots of memories were brought to mind.  He is in the Lord's hands now and my prayer is that God would provide comfort to his wife, children and grandchildren.

What I wanted to comment on was the Episcopal service, this being the first one I have been to.  Compared to what I am used to, it strikes me as being fairly traditional with the clergy wearing robes, making strange signs with their hands and using magical water to sprinkle things.  Then there was the liturgy based on prayers and readings done word for word from a liturgy pamphlet.  The funeral service ended with a mass, which is also something that I had never seen before.

The tradition was a bit intermittent, however, as the music was of a modern composition and the clergy were all women.  I brought a copy of the liturgy home and probably should go through it a bit more carefully.  Something to highlight immediately is the version of the Lord's prayer:

"Father-Mother, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name." - Liturgy

Hmmm.  The King James Version of this is:

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." - Matthew 6:9

I am wondering if "hallowed by" instead of "hallowed be" is a typo.  It completely changes the meaning of the text.  The last verse of the Lord's prayer is missing from the liturgy pamphlet.  This is the part that says:

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." - Matthew 6:13

A common theme that fundamentalists will pick on when looking at a modernist worship is the sense of what the gospel of Christ means to us personally.  Fundamentalists say that it begins with acknowledging sin - my sin - not someone else's.  There is an acknowledgement of sin in the liturgy, but it is of a vague and collective nature:

"All say
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.  Have mercy on us.  -repeat 3X- " - Liturgy

And what the primary concern is:

"Mostly, Lord, help us to open to You the places in us that are injured, hurt, and traumatized." - Liturgy

I have prayed such things too, but what should traumatize me most is my own sin and not the thrashing I received at someone else's hands.  Shouldn't the thrashing I gave someone else be more bothersome to my conscience than what someone did to me?  As part of the Lord's supper, there is this definition of what is going on:

"This is the Lamb of God, who opens His and Her hands and pours upon us all that we need, so our lives may be whole and holy." - Liturgy

Of course the Lamb of God is Jesus, who is definitely not a Her.  Stepping back and looking at the entire service, it was certainly an educational experience.


Delirious said...

Sometimes it is frightening to me to see how far some churches have strayed from the original doctrine of Jesus Christ. Wow!

Our funerals usually follow the same format:
--A family prayer is held, with just the family, right before the funeral. It is usually done in the viewing room.
--family memories of the person are shared
--a talk is given about the plan of salvation
--sometimes there is a special musical number
--migration to the grave sight.
That's about it. :) lol We do have an ordinance where a blessing is said at the grave, to dedicate the grave sight. But I have also been to funerals where all of this took place at the cemetery. I think I am liking that, and will suggest my own funeral follow suit.

Looney said...

Yours sounds more familiar to me. This one was more like a regular Episcopal Sunday service, so would have been more alien to those who weren't from an Episcopal background.