An Introductory Note

At a person’s death, the church shares the grief of those who mourn and remembers the brevity of life on earth. At the funeral we give voice to sorrow, thank God for our loved one, and entrust this companion of ours into the hands of God. Trusting in God’s promise in baptism that we are claimed by Christ forever, we rest in the sure hope of the resurrection. When the church gathers to mark the end of life, Christ crucified and risen is the witness of worship, the strength of mutual consolation, and the hope of healing.
~Evangelical Lutheran Worship notes on Funeral Services

Downloadable Funeral Guidelines
The Basics
Information you should know

Planning the Service

Meeting with the Pastor: Whenever possible, families are encouraged to notify the pastor(s) immediately after the death of a congregation member. This can be done by contacting the church at 402-483-4126 or the pastor’s home number. It is helpful for the pastor(s) to join the family at the funeral home when making arrangements.

Scriptures: Scripture passages are an important part of the funeral service because the Bible reveals to us God’s love for us. Both the Old Testament and New Testament have appropriate passages. Often, passages are chosen based on their message of hope, renewal and promise. Sometimes, passages also reflect a quality found in the life of the deceased. Suggested passages found on the insert of this pamphlet.

Other Readings: There are also poems, readings, and texts beyond the Bible that also reflect God’s love and our hope in profound ways. While we strongly encourage at least one Scripture passage, other readings may also be appropriate. Discretion is left to the pastor(s).

Music: Music is a powerful and emotional way for people to express grief and hope, sorrow and joy. While soloists are appropriate and welcome, congregational hymns are also encouraged. We sing our faith together, believing for one another when faith is difficult to muster. Secular music is not appropriate within the content of the worship service but may be used before or after the service. Our Saviour’s provides an accompanist for services. Additional music groups through the congregation are generally not available. Any special requests can be discussed with the pastor(s). Suggested hymns found on the insert of this pamphlet.

Slideshows: Often, funeral directors will help families prepare slideshows of pictures of the deceased. These may be shown before the service as people find their seats or at the reception. They will not be shown during the service.

Communion: Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is another powerful way to remember God’s devotion and love for us and for the deceased. However, communion may not always be appropriate for every occasion. Families are urged to consider whether those worshiping would feel excluded from the table based on their own religious backgrounds, and if so, communion may be discouraged for the sake of the whole group gathered.

Obituary: The obituary is typically read prior to the sermon. While families might keep newspaper obituaries brief due to costs, they can expand upon it for the service.

Message: The main focus of a funeral service is to proclaim the hope and comfort we have in Christ. The sermon will also honor the life of the deceased. Personal stories are helpful in this regard.

Family Involvement: There is opportunity for one family member to share thoughts on behalf of the whole family. If the family chooses this option, they are encouraged to read from a manuscript and e-mail a copy to the pastor prior to the service.

Honoraria: Honoraria from congregational members for the pastor(s) and/or musician(s) are at the discretion of the family and are often included in the costs collected by the funeral director. Any honoraria received by the pastor(s) are placed in a common fund to benefit all of the staff at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.

Military Funerals: We highly respect those who have served the country in this way, however we remember that we are Christians before we are Americans. Therefore, a pall is placed over the coffin during the worship service as a reminder of God’s grace which covers every one of us. A flag ceremony can take place at the gravesite. Funeral directors arrange for the appropriate military personnel.

Lunches/Receptions: Our Saviour’s has members who volunteer to provide and serve luncheons or dessert receptions. When a lunch is provided, the family is requested (if able) to help cover the costs of the sandwich items. All other food items are donated. The family can also choose to cater a meal or refreshments at their own expense.

Non-members: When appropriate, funeral services for non-members will be considered at the discretion of the pastor(s).

Hymns Suggestions
Non-Exhaustive List Numbers from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship

* Indicates OSLC staff favorites

270 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Christmas)
272 *Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming (Christmas)
313 O Lord, Now Let Your Servant
318 Alleluia, Song of Gladness
324 In The Cross of Christ I Glory
325 I Want Jesus To Walk With Me
334 Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery
336 Lamb of God
338 Beneath the Cross of Jesus
342 There in God’s Garden
365 *Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
366 The Strife is O’er, the Battle Done
367 *Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds
369 Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia!
376 *Thine Is the Glory
377 Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen!
389 Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing
392 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus
413 *Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!
422 For All the Saints
423 Shall We Gather At the River
425 Behold the Host Arrayed in White
427 For All Your Saints, O Lord
430 Rejoice, for Christ Is King!
439 Soon and Very Soon
441 Oh, Happy Day When We Shall Stand
442 All Who Believe And Are Baptized
449 *We Know That Christ Is Raised
451 We Are Baptized In Christ Jesus
452 Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death
453 *Baptized and Set Free
454 Remember and Rejoice
469 *By Your Hand You Feed Your People
485 I Am the Bread of Life (leader sings verses)
502 The King of Love My Shepherd Is
504 *A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
511 *Thy Strong Word
536 God Be With You Till We Meet Again
581 You Are Mine
595 *Jesus Loves Me!
597 *My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less
608 Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
613 Thy Holy Wings
616 Jesus, Remember Me (during prayers)
618 Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer
619 *I Know That My Redeemer Lives!
623 Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
624 Jesus, Still Lead On
627 O Day Full of Grace
628 Jerusalem, My Happy Home
629 Abide With Me
630 In Heaven Above
631 *Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
632 O God, Our Help in Ages Past
634 *All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!
636 How Small Our Span of Life
638 Blessed Assurance
639 *When We Are Living
654 *The Church’s One Foundation
660 *Lift High the Cross
666 What Wondrous Love Is This
697 Just a Closer Walk with Thee
721 Goodness Is Stronger Than Evil
732 *Borning Cry
733 Great is Thy Faithfulness
752 *Lord, Listen To Your Children Praying (during prayers)
759 My Faith Looks Up to Thee
760 *O Christ the Same (tune: Londonderry Air)
765 Lord of All Hopefulness
769 If You But Trust In God to Guide You
770 Give Me Jesus
773 Precious Lord, Take My Hand
778 The Lord’s My shepherd
779 *Amazing Grace
781 *Children of the Heavenly Father
785 When Peace Like a River
(It is Well With My Soul)
787 On Eagle’s Wings
792 When Memory Fades (after a battle with Alzheimers)
793 *Be Thou My vision
796 How Firm a Foundation
808 *Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song
826 *Thine The Amen
835 All Creatures, Worship God Most High!
(All Creatures of Our God and King)
840 Now Thank We All Our God
842 Oh, Worship the King
843 *Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness
848 Give to Our God Immortal Praise!
853 When Morning gilds the Skies
855 *Crown Him With Many Crowns
856 *How Great Thou Art
857 *Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
879 For the Beauty of the Earth
886 Oh, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Scripture Passage Suggestions
Non-Exhaustive List

Old Testament
Job 19:23-27a I know that my Redeemer lives
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 For everything there is a season
Isaiah 25:6-9 God will swallow up death forever
Isaiah 40:1, 6-11 God will gather the lambs
Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort my people, says your God
Isaiah 40:28-31 They will mount up on wings like eagles
Isaiah 41:9b-10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you
Isaiah 43:1-3a, 5-7 I have called you by name
Isaiah 43:1-3a, 18-19 I am about to do a new thing
Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13 Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters
Isaiah 61:1-3 The spirit of the LORD God is upon me
Isaiah 65:17-20, 23-25 A new heaven and a new earth
Isaiah 66:10-14 As a mother comforts her child
Jeremiah 31:8-13 I will turn their mourning into joy
Lament. 3:22-26, 31-33 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases

Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd
Psalm 42:1-5 As the deer longs for the flowing streams
Psalm 46:1-7 God is our refuge and strength
Psalm 90 Our dwelling place in all generations
Psalm 103:8-17 The LORD is compassionate and gracious
Psalm 118 God’s steadfast love endures forever
Psalm 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills
Psalm 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD
Psalm 139:1-16 O LORD, you have searched me and know me
Psalm 142:1-6 I cry to the LORD with my voice

New Testament
Matthew 11:25-30 Come to me all who are weary
John 6:35-40 I will raise them up on the last day
John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice
John 11:21-27 I am the resurrection and the life
John 14:1-6 I am the way and the truth and the life
Romans 5:1-11 Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 6:3-10 We will be united with him in a resurrection like his
Romans 8:31-39 Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Romans 14:7-9 Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s
1 Corinthians 15:12-26 Christ, the first fruits, has been raised
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Where, O Death, is your victory?
2 Cor. 4:6-12, 16-18 Treasure in clay jars
2 Cor. 1:3-7 God consoles us in all our affliction
Hebrews 12:1-2 Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses
1 Peter 1:3-9 A living hope through Jesus’ resurrection
1 John 3:1-2 See what love the Father has given us
Revelation 1:17-18 Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last
Revelation 7:9-17 God will wipe away every tear
Revelation 21:2-7 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem
Revelation 22:1-5 The Lord God will be their light