Committal Service – James Blackwell
Whiteville Memorial Cemetery
10 January 2016
At the cemetery, proceed slowly ahead of the casket to the grave. Once at the gravesite, stand at the end or to the rear until everyone has assembled. Wait for the funeral director to signal as when to begin.
As we gather here today at James’ final earthly resting place, I’d like for us all to hear and consider the words of the Apostle Paul from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
“We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive, and are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
Let’s pray together.
“Our Father, we have come here today, at this time, to commit to this resting place the body of our loved one and friend, whose spirit is already with You. While this spot of earth will hold the form of one whose memory we will certainly treasure, we look here not in sorrow as those who have no hope. Your Word assures us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and that to die is gain. We, therefore, commit James’ earthly body to the ground in the renewed and fresh hope of the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, at whose appearing “the dead in Him will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever.” AMEN.
When I was in the hospital room with James, I sung over him this benediction from Numbers 6. In the same way, I would like to sing this benediction over him once more, and over you as well.
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace. And be gracious unto thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”
Just a man trying to save his thoughts and correspondence