Funeral readings offer a heartfelt way of expressing our feelings about the passing of a loved one. They are used during funeral services and other celebrations to pay respect, honour the deceased and offer a sense of comfort to those who are mourning. During a funeral service, there are typically 2 to 3 readings, though it depends on who is organising the funeral and if those who passed away left their wishes in a pre-paid funeral plan. Readings can be religious or non-religious or a combination of both. But, because funeral readings are available in so many different forms, choosing the right ones can often be overwhelming and cause emotional distress. That’s why S. Stibbards & Sons have created this short guide to ease the process and help you understand the different types of readings better.
Religious Bible Readings
Religious scripture can offer a great selection of different passages that can be used as a part of a funeral service. Your personal faith and the faith of those who have passed away will ultimately guide you in selecting the most suitable passages for the funeral service. When it comes to biblical passages, there is a great deal to choose from, which can offer people a lot of flexibility when the time to make a decision comes. The most popular types of biblical passages for funerals are Psalms and Verses. Here are two of the most popular readings in the United Kingdom:
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”.
Secular (non-religious) funeral readings can be taken from anything like books, famous speeches, literature, amongst other sources. As long as the context is appropriate and pays a heartfelt tribute to your loved one, then you are free to use any reading(s) as part of a funeral service. Because there are so many different sources and forms, choosing non-religious readings for a funeral can, in fact, be harder than choosing religious ones. Below are a couple of examples of popular non-religious funeral readings:
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye
“Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep. I am in a thousand winds that blow, I am the softly falling snow. I am the gentle showers of rain, I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush, I am in the graceful rush. Of beautiful birds in circling flight, I am the starshine of the night. I am in the flowers that bloom, I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing, I am in each lovely thing. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there. I do not die”.
Death Is Nothing At All by Henry Scott Holland
“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still”.
There are quite literally hundreds of beautiful poems that are appropriate and can be used for funeral readings. Poems are great to use as readings because there are so many available and their contexts can range from being sentimental to humorous. When it comes to choosing a poem for a funeral reading, it really is down to your preference and the personality of those who passed away. If you are in the middle of arranging a loved one’s funeral and looking for the perfect words to pay a meaningful tribute, then here are two of the most popular funeral poems to inspire you:
I Am Free by Shannon Lee Moseley
“Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free, I’m following the path God laid for me. I took His hand when I heard Him call, I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day, to laugh, To love, to work or play. Tasks undone must stay that way, I’ve found that peace at the close of the day”.
Let Me Go by Christina Rossetti
“When I come to the end of the road, and the sun has set for me. I want no rites in a gloom filled room. Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long. And not with your head bowed low. Remember the love that once we shared. Miss me but let me go”.
Quotations are normally used as part of a eulogy. However, they are also used as part of a funeral reading and are often printed in the order of service. Like non-religious readings, you can find quotations from a wide range of sources such as books, essays, plays and other types of literature. If you are looking for a quotation to include as part of your loved one’s funeral service, then we recommend doing a couple of simple online searches as there are many useful resources out there.
S. Stibbards & Sons Are Here to Help
We can help you decide which reading(s) to choose for your loved one’s funeral. S. Stibbards & Sons have five generations of experience serving our local community since 1867, which means that every little detail matters to us just as much as it matters to you. If you decide to choose us, we will arrange a time to come and visit you in your own home to discuss your loved one’s funeral and the potential reading(s) that could be included as part of the service. If you would like to discuss your loved one’s funeral with us, please get in touch through our contact page today.