Concordia Theological Quarterly 58 (1994) no. 1:5-24.Proclaiming Life in Death:The Funeral SermonDonald L. DeffnerA young pastor went home for lunch to find his wife raped andstrangled, his two toddlers left unharmed. "Mommic's sleepingupstairs, Daddy," they told him. "A man came to the house." Laterthe gricving father appeared on television, saying that hc hadforgiven his wife's murderer and asking othcrs to find it in theirhearts to do so too.The funeral service was characterized by a sense of the victory ofEaster. The bulletin stated the following:The bIack border around this paper is not only for thcmemory of Sharon or for the grief of her loved ones, but fora sick humanity. All of us have felt in these days something of the terrible misery of what it means to be human.For a short time the mask was stripped away, and we caughta glimpse of the hell in human hearts-the hell of lovelessness, of hatred, of callousness to other people, of ourready willingness to consume each other. . . .But it is precisely at this point-at graveside-that Christianity, if it is to have any meaning at all, must begin tomake sense. For it was to the very depths of this tragichuman existence that God came personally in Jesus Christ.And it was here that He redeemed us and our existence. . .The mercy is this, that we who have faced our humanity inall its horror are now enabled through Christ to realize ourhumanity in all its glory, the glory of love.There was a qui tc different funeral service which took place somefifty years ago. As a Lutheran left the funeral service of her father,she overheard a Methodist friend say: "What a sermon! All aboutsin and death! That man must have been a great sinner!" The manbeing buricd had, in fact, been a devout and loving Christian. Theexact religious background of his daughter's friends-and what theyactually heard at that funeral-cannot be ascertained at this point intime.In any case, however, this episode and the episode recountedbefore it indicate the crucial nature of what people hear, especially

6CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLYnon-Lutherans, when they come to a funeral service. What isinvolved here? Many of the readers of this article will havepreached hundreds more funeral sermons than its author. The goalhere, however, is to focus on what constitutes a biblical funeralsermon while simultaneously directing readers to various resources.'The author is particularly indebted to the insights provided by RobertG . Hughes in A Trumpet in Darkness: Preaching to ourners.'I. The Sermon in GeneralFirst of all, a funeral sermon is the announcement of the GoodNews that Jesus Christ has conquered death and the grave for us.It is biblical preaching that focuses on Calvary and the empty tomb,so that the mourners may deal with the reality of death and have thecertain hope which God gives us for life now and the life to comein heaven. A funeral sermon therefore is basic and integral to thewhole liturgy for the burial of the dead. Also, as Hughes suggests,"mourners may be emotionally ready, open to God's word in a waythat secure individuals are not."3 Defenses are down, life isdisrupted, and there is a need to restore balance to life. "It has beenthe experience of clergy that greater vulnerability leads to heightenedreceptivity more often than to stubborn defensiveness. "4Yet there must be a balance in what is preached in the sermon-abalance between reference to the individual which is realistic(especially if the family knows the person far better than the pastor)and, on the other hand, delivering a sermon with a "to whom it mayconcern" flavor. The preacher is certainly to personalize the sermon,but without lauding the dead.'"A Christian funeral sermon is for the living, not the dead."Pastors have heard that principle stated many times. Accordingly,how can the sensitive pastor take into account exactly where themourners are in their process of grief? "If a death has been suddenand tragic, with the anesthetic of shock working its protective magic,one aim of the sermon may be to assist listeners to face death andbegin to g r i e e . " On the other hand, when a person has lingereda long time before death, there may be a feeling of relief. In eithercase, people may feel guilt. How does one preach to the particularfeelings and questions of the sorrowing?

The Funeral Sermon7The funeral sermon is a key factor in a continuing pastoralrelationship which the pastor has with the family-hopefully .Accordingly, even as the pastor interprets the biblical text selectedvery carefully, so he must study the listeners as well. He is an"active li tener." He must ask, "What is the mourners' story?"-that is, "What are their feelings and questions?"11. The Hearers of the SermonA. Phases of MourningIn his Worship and Pastoral Care William H. Willimon entitledone of his chapters "Liturgy and Life's Crises: The Funeral. " Therehe speaks of three "rites of passage" through which people go at thedeath of a loved one. These three phases (quoting Van Gennep) areseparation, transition, and reincorp ration. I . SeparationWillimon says he remembers a widow who asked him to go withher for a final look at her husband's body before the funeral. Hewas hesitant, knowing it could be a disturbing experience for her.But after she had touched her husband's cheek tenderly, she said:"He's cold. You can shut it now." She had proceeded through theseparation from her husband. Willimon rightly states: "To avoidsuch separation is to postpone a necessary first step in the griefprocess and to run the risk of prolonging the pain of grief or dealingwith grief in less productive ways."92. TransitionA second phase is transition. One day a woman is married; thenext day she is a widow. One day children have a father; the nextday he is gone. Normal activities are suspended. The mourners aremoving into a new status in life.At this point the fmeral service has a very important educativefunction. "Here the church says in effect, 'When death comes, theseare things that we belie e."" "Blessed are the dead who die in theLord from henceforth-yea, saith the Spirit-that they may rest fromtheir labours; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13)."Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

8CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts untowisdom" (Psalm 90: 12).Particularly helpful at this time is the sheer "ministry of presence"to those who mourn. The author remembers A. R. Kretzrnannsaying that, when a parishioner of his was: about to die, he wouldcancel other appointments and just "be thcre" with the family.Extensive conversation may not be necessary at tirncs and certainlynot such inappropriate comments as "I know just how you feel."A pastor-friend of mine in Philadelphia says that, after his fatherdied, one person after another stuck his head in his church-officedoor with comments of that nature until finally he was on the vcrgeof vomiting. But then one friend came in and simply said, "I care."That assurance meant more to him than all the other comments.But presence is not enough during this transitional stage. Wordsmust be spoken. And the funeral sermon can do that speaking.3. ReincorporationThe third phase is reincorporation. The mourners are nowseparated from their loved one, and the Christian community seeksto help them in the time of transition. But now their friends helpreincorporate them into the mainstream of lifc again. And thefuneral sermon can point in that direction-of the continued love andsupport of the caring Christian community."3. Types of DeathAll these aspects of the mourners' stories-thcir Seelings andquestions-are contextual as a pastor prepares the funeral sermon.What are they asking? What are they trying to understand? RobcrtG. Hughes is particularly helpful here as he considers the varioustypes of death which occw and the specific problems which mayarise in the mowers.I . Prolonged DeathFor many people, Hughes says, in connection with dcath fromcancer or another lingering illness, the "dynamics of chronic grief'are anger and depression. Families feel helpless. Maybe the doctoris blamed. Anger at God is also common. The long waiting period

The Funeral Sermon9can also lead to depression. The pastor will want to take theseelements into account and draw on the powerhouse of God'sinfallible word here, bringing in those passages which speak ofChristian suffering and sorrow now in conjunction with the joy andhope and glory which is ours now and which is to come much moreabundantly.l 22. Sudden DeathIn connection with sudden death by accident one sees the"dynamics of acute grief." Shock and disbelief can overwhelm thegrievers. Or there can be intense anger at those who caused theaccident. Guilt can also appear when a person asks himself suchquestions as these: "What could I have done to prevent the accident?" "If I had been there, would things be different?"13Henry Sloan Coffin's experience at the dcath of his son ispertinent here. As the author recalls the account, his son had beendriving alongside a river in New York late at night. He had notbeen drinking, nor was he on drugs, His car somehow veered offthe road and went into the river, where he drowned. Later at hishome, bcforc the funeral, Coffin was sitting down when a womanpassed by with a hot-dish in her hands, headed for the kitchen. "I'llnever understand the will of God," she said worriedly, walking pastCoffin. Coffin immediately arose and followed her into the kitchen.There he made the point that God is not the driver at the wheel ofthe car in an accident; He is not the madman pushing the button todetonate a bomb. When his son died, Coffin said, God's was thefirst tear to fall. God grieved, too.Coffin also speaks of an earlier experience. In his senior year atschool a good friend was killed in an automobile accident. Sittingin the chapel waiting for the funeral service to begin, he was filledwith angry thoughts. Now, as the pastor started down the aisletoward the altar, he began to intone unctuously Job's famous words:"The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the nameof the Lord." Coffin continues:From the aisle seat where I was sitting, I could have stuckout my foot and tripped him up and might easily have doneso, had my attention not been arrested by a still, small

10CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLYvoice, as it were, asking, "Coffin, what part of that sentenceare you objecting to?" Naturally I thought it was the secondpart, "The Lord hath taken away," spoken all too facilely bythe priest. But suddenly I realized it was the first. Suddenly I caught the full impact of "The Lord gave": the worldvery simply is not ours; at best we're guests. It was not anunderstanding I relished nor one, certainly, to clear up allmy objections to my friend's death. But as I sat quietlynow at his funeral, I realized that it was probably theunderstanding against which all the spears of human pridehad to be hurled and shattered. Then, thank God, theorganist played Bach's great chorale prelude, Christus Standin Todes Band. It was genuinely comforting. And it mademe think that religious truths, like those of music, wereprobably apprehended on a deeper level than they were evercomprehended. . . . So the leap of faith was really a leap ofaction. Faith was not believing without proof; it wastrusting without re ervation.' An interchange of the author's own experience may be appropriatelyretold here:I have a personal friend on the West Coast who lost hertwelve-year-old son to leukemia in just two weeks. He wasa swimming companion of Mark Spitz. And she said to memany times: "Don't tell me that you can give me a goodanswer as to why John died." I didn't. But I did share thegospel with her, and added: "Ann,wouldn't you have ratherhad John those precious twelve years rather than not atOf particular importance is that we avoid at such times some ofthe phrases which are challenged in "Myths About Death." Oneexample is the assertion without qualification that death is "the willof God":In Job 1:21 Job states: "Naked I came from my mother'swomb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lordhas taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."But in the next verse Scripture says, "In all this Job did

The Funeral Sermon11not sin or charge God with wrong." He did not "chargeGod foolishly" (KJV).God permits death at a certain time, and He knows whenwe will die (Job 14:5). But He never desires man's death:" I do not enjoy seeing a sinner die" (Ezekiel 33: 11, TEV).Death comes upon us because we are all sinful mortals."Death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Romans5:12). "By a man came death" (1 Corinthians 15:21,RSV).' Doctrinally, of course, a distinction is necessary between thepermissive will and the causative will of God. His permissive willobviously embraces all events, including death. His causative willtoo may, certainly, be involved in the time of death, but we are notin a position to say in any given case.There is also a distinction to be made between the stingless deathof the Christian and the sting-filled death which comes to theunbeliever. But the words which we use to describe the Christian'sdeath can be misunderstood by a grieving mourner, including suchphrases as "God took him," or "God called him home," or "it pleasedGod to take him to Himself in heaven." Such language may not becomforting to a woman who put her two-and-one-half-week-oldchilddown on her waterbed for a nap and returned to find the child facedown, suffocated, dead. What we have moved to here is thecircumstance of untimely death.3. Untimely DeathThe occurrence of a stillbirth or sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS) is hardly the time to say "it was the will of God." At anuntimely death the mourners' responses may be feelings of personalguilt, anger at facing an unseen enemy, blaming of others (as whenparents blame each other in the case of an accident), or the theological wrestling that goes on during the terminal illness of a child:"Why did he suffer so?" "Why did God allow this to happen?""Why didn't God hear our prayers for a cure?"17Particularly tragic at such a time is the comment of the naivefriend who suggests that "God took the child because God needed

12CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLYhim up in heaven more than the parents did." Instead the preacherpoints to "a God who is self-giving, whose Son offered His life forthe life of all people, who shares human suffering, and who seeksthe best [for us] in a less than perfect world."" References tobaptism, in which God made the little one His own, will also be akey element in the sermon in such circumstances. More will be saidon baptism later. Hughes suggests the following:Pastors can help by encouraging parents to grieve. Later,after feelings are vented, parents may be ready to see thatthey do not have power over life and death, that they arehuman and fallible, and that chains of events cannot becontrolled. Finally, they may be able to hear the good newsthat they too are children of a loving God who can reformtheir self-images (by the power of the Holy Spirit) andknow their identity as God's forgiven people.19Several dynamics may be apparent in those who mourn the agedChristian. There may be acceptance, even welcoming of death as arelease. There may be anxiety because of a feeling of abandonment.There may bc guilt, especially when a person has died in aninstitutional setting. Or there may be anger when one person caredfor the deceased more than the other siblings, or when there arequarrels over the possessions left behind."All these factors will be concerns of the pastor preparing to preachthe funeral sermon. The themes will be thankfulness to God for theblessings of a full life, death as a release, and so on. But "if themessage of God's presence and comfort can be linked to thepromised support of pastor and congregation, the sermon will begood news indeed.""5 . SuicideGuilt, anger, and shame can all surface in cases of self-inflicteddeath. Families often have repeated warnings well in advance of apotential suicide. Hughes cites authorities who say that "fully eightyper cent of all completed suicides do in fact speak of their intentionsBut John Hewett's observation is worth noting:beforehand.

The Funeral Sermon13Suicide is an act completed in solitude, and one person isresponsible for it-the deceased. . . . No person can singlehandedly prevent a suicide unless that person can livewithout sleep and spend twenty-four hours a day restrainingthe potential uicide. 'What can the preachcr say? Luther's words of 1532 are aproposhere:I don't share the opinion that suicides are certainly to bedamned. My reason is that they do not wish to kill thcmselves but are overcome by the power of the devil. They arelikc a man who is murdered in the woods by a robber.However, this ought not be taught to the common people,lest Satan be givcn an opportunity to cause slaughter, and Irecommend that the popular custom bc strictly adhered toaccording to which it [the suicide's corpse] is not carriedover the threshold, etc. Such persons do not die by freechoice or by law, but our Lord God will dispatch them asHe executes a person through a robber. Magistrates shouldtreat them quite strictly, although it is not plain that theirsouls are damned. However, they are examples by whichour Lord God wishes to show that the devil is powerful andalso that we should be diligent in prayer. But for theseexamples we would not fear God. Hence He must teach usin this way?Whatever the circumstances of death, however (in any of thosesituations described before), the message we have to declare isalways the same in its essence.111. The Basic Message of the SermonA. The Cross of ChristThe burden of all good preaching in the church of Christ remains,as it always has been, the cross of Jesus Christ and the resurrectionfrom the dead. Christ crucified and risen is to be the heart of thefuneral sermon. For it is in Christ alone that the mourners have anytrue and lasting hope.

14CONCQRD ATHEOLOGICAL QUARTERLYJohn picss speaks well in his classic essay "Martin Luther:Preacher of the Cross":For Luther the preaching that is shaped by the theology ofthe cross is proclamation that holds up Christ alone asSavior of the world. Any other theology is a theology ofglory."The theology of the cross is also the answer to all the people ofthis world-Albert Camus and Ingmar Bergman and any othcrs-who ask, "HOWcan a loving God let the innocent suffer?" T h eCompassionate Mind takes this approach:Ow response is to point them to a properly understoodtheology of the cross.God suffers in the suffering of Christ and cries out withthe godforsaken God, "My God, why have You forsakenMe'?" As [Tobina] Dalton says, "Then God's being is insuffering and the suffering is in God's being itself, becauseGod is love."So God in Christ's death entered into our godforsakennessso all thc godless and godforsaken can have reconciliationwith Him. No one-the boy hung in Night, or the boydying in The Plague, or the blonde girl raped and murderedin Virgin Spring-no one has loneliness, rejection, pain, ortorture which God Himself has not absorbed in the cross ofHis Son.When non-Christians lay aside their diminutive conception of God and cope with the godforsakenness in God (withChrist), they will have confronted the true God.And thcn they must see this God alive inThe theology of the crossand resurrection-will implicitlyrespond to the questions which emerge from the grief process:"Why, God?" "What did I do to deserve this?" "God, where areYou?" (Hughes provides a detailed homiletical treatment of thesequestion*and[he sermonic response.) Hughes states:The theology of the cross affirms the need for believers to

The Funeral Sermon15wait, trusting in the action of God. In Christ the believerreceives the forgiveness of sins and becomes a new person.At the same time the Scriptures affirm that believers remainlifelong sinners. For the believer who is simultaneouslysaint and sinner, waiting between the "already" of baptisminto Christ and the "not yet" of the new being, waiting inobedience is part of what it means to be faithful."B. Sacramental ConnectionsAnd therein lies a key point which should also be central to everyfuneral sermon-recalling the baptism of the one who has died. AsWayne Menking has written:Liturgically the funeral is understood as the conclusion ofthe baptismal liturgy. The water and the word bring thenew creature into being, but its completion comes at theresurrection which is celebrated in the funeral. Thus thebaptism and the funeral form the beginning and the end ofthe Christian life, which is itself the entire baptismal liturgyof moving between death and life, old and new, darknessand light.'*Proceeding, in this connection, from the sacrament of baptism tothe sacrament of the altar, the question is frequently asked whetherit is appropriate to celebrate the eucharist at a funeral. A colleague,however, has observed that this question should be phrased: "Is itappropriate to have a funeral at a celebration of the eucharist?" Hebelieves it is, as does the author. An appropriate eucharistic funeral,however, would be quite unlike one conducted by an avant-gardepreacher on the West Coast in the author's presence. The pastor'ssockless, sandalled feet were enough of a distraction. But, worse,in the sermon he said: "Frank, as you all know, loved a party. [Itwas well known that the man was an alcoholic.] Well, Frank is withthe Lord now and enjoying the greatest party he ever attended-inheaven." Later, when the pastor began the eucharistic portion of theservice, he welcomed the people to the chancel with abandon: "Letthe bash begin!" Clearly the mourners need a far more sublime andp r o f o d"word from the Lord."

16CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUAR'TERLYC. The Resurrection of the DeadIn addition to all the questions alluded to earlier, there is theultimate question: "What happens at death-and beyond?" Here thcpreacller is called 10 proclaim with parrhesiu and conviction: "Owdeath is certain. But our resurrection is also certain. For God hasmade us His own in baptism. He has promised: 'I will nevcr leavenor forsake thw' (Hebrews 13:5). 'Because I live, yc shall livealso' (John 14:19)."AS u h c putsr it, "We are to sleep until He comes and knocks onh e gave and says, 'Dr. Martin, get up.' Then I will arise in amoment and will be eternally happy with Him."2Y We shall be"happy with Him." What more can we say to the mourncrs and ourown grieving spirits? Three little words, "with the Lord," are all wcneed to know about heaven and be content!30IV. The Structure of the SermonTo proceed now more specifically to the composition of thesermon, about ninety years ago John Henry Jowett wrote thesewords which arc still as true today:No scmmon is ready for preaching, nor ready for writing out,until w e can express its theme in a short pregnant sentenceas clear as a crystal. I find the getting of that sentence thehardest, thc most exacting, and the most fruitful labor in mystudy .j'The preacher would likewise do well to prepare a fiftecn-wordsummary of his sermon in terms of law and gospel, problem andresolution. Already implicit, of course, in such a summary are thepurgoscs of the funeral sermon in general-to help the hearers toface the reality of death and to assist them in finding comfort in thecertainty of the resurrection unto eternal life for those who believein Jesus Christ.Hughes suggests a progression or sequence which, of course, mayvary wilh h c particular circumstances. There is an interweaving ofthee stories: the dcad person's, the mourners', and God's. Webegin with ihe sLory of the death, with a balanced reference to the

The Funeral Sermon17deceased. Certainly the dead person's name can be used in a properway. Then there is a shift to lhe mourners' stories. The primaryfocus of the sermon is the survivors. What questions are theyasking? Then there is a smooth transition into the text, such as thedepiction of the grieving disciples after Good Friday or of the twodisciples of Emmaus, grieving the death of their Lord. (A clearidentification can be made between the first-century mourners inboth these texts and the twentieth-century mourners hearing thesermon.)Whatever the text, however, the law (the "malady" as Caemmererwould call it) is clearly before the mourners, if the casket is in thechurch. Here the preacher will be particularly concerned about theproper distinction between law and gospel-and the proper quantityof each. The "line of direction," however (as Gerhard Aho wouldsay), is towards the proclamation of the good news of the gospel.Hughes argues rightly:The most effective text for funeral sermons is a hinge. Atthe grave of Lazarus we not only see Jesus weep, but wehear the good news, "I am the resurrection and the life"(John 11:25). In the upper room we not only sense thedisciples' fear, but we hear the reassuring, "Peace be withyou" (John 20:19). In the midst of these narratives theaction shifts from human anguish to God's promise ofhelp.32And so we focus on the death and resurrection of Christ-forThat is the heart of funeral preaching for Lutheran!V. An Example of the SermonThe following example of a funeral sermon once preached by theauthor may not follow Hughes' schema in every detail. It is,however, one approach in a particular situation, and readers may seein it some of the elements which have been discussed here. Thedeceased was a relative's husband. About fifty-three years old, hewas a Christian, although not very active in a church. The authorwas asked to preach the sermon, with only a few family memberspresent.

18CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLYThere is reference in the Bible to one man who neverdied. His name was Enoch. Scripture says God translatedhim directly from life on earth to being in the presence ofGod in heaven.A little girl was once asked to tell the story of Enoch.She said: "Well. Enoch and God were good friends. Andthey used to take long walks in Enoch's garden. And oneday God said, 'Enoch, you look tired. Why don't you comeup to My place and stay and rest awhile?' And so he did."In a sense, we can say that God said the same thing toMax. God said: "Max, you look very tired. Why don't youcome up lo My place and stay and rest?"And that poetic way of looking at Max's passing awayfrom our presence may comfort us. But we do not say thatGod caused Max's death. Well-meaning people may say"God called him home," or "God took him." But God doesnot cause death. We do--for we are all mortal-all sinners.Dcaih comes upon us all because of our sinful condition---our sins of commission and omission which placeourselves first and God last in our lives. Sin is just. thatself-absorption and self-centeredness. Sin is ignoring Godand planning our lives as if He did not exist. It is having ameager prayer life or no prayer life at all. It is having littleto do with Christ's church on earth-fallible as we all admitthc church is as an institution. Sin is forgetting one'sbaptism by which we were forgiven our sins by the graciousredemptive power of God's Holy Spirit. It is not going toholy communion where we receive Christ's body and bloodfor the forgiveness of ow sins. In sum, sin is living one's1i fe independent from God.A memorial service concerns not just the dead, but theliving. God calls us all-people in the church and outsideit-to repentance. We have a gracious God who does notdesire our punishment and death, but who sent His onlybcloved Son into the world to suffer and die on the cross forour sins.

The Funeral Sermon19God is not a God of "cheap gracev--easy forgiveness.The payment for our sin cost Him the life of His Son, owSavior. But by Christ's death and resurrection we areforgiven people. God declares us righteous through Christ'satoning work for us. We cannot save ourselves. Christ did.And He wants the assurance and peace and comfort andhope of that forgiveness to be a living reality in our dailylives. God says: "I have graven thee on the palms of Myhands. I have redeemed thee. Thou art Mine."Max believed that promise. He was baptized and knewhe was a forgiven child of God. He read much, includingE. W. A. Koehler's Summary of Christian Doctrine. Maxand I talked about that book and another book in which hewas intensely interested concerning the nature of Christ. InFebruary in our conversation I said I would get a copy ofanother book for him, and he was looking forward toreceiving it. Because of his illness, I was not able to put itinto his hands. It was entitled life with God. And that iswhat Max has right now-Life with God. We need to knowonly three words about Max's state right now. The wordsare "with the Lord." That is what life eternal is-being inthe loving personal presence of God Himself. Nothing canbe more wonderful.We here today are human, and we have sorrow at losingMax. But Max would not have us grieve. For he is "withthe Lord"!Just imagine-just imagine if Eloise were going throughall of Max's papers, and she found a letter from him whichwas like the following one. Can you imagine him writingthese words?A Final Letter to Eloise and My Sons: "When-ever I die, please do not grieve for me. I ambeyond pain-by God's grace in the presence of ourLord. You are the ones in pain. That grieves menow. But in heaven I will not know pain."So if you hurt, I am truly sorry. But dwell on

20CONCORDIATHEOLOGICAL QUARTERLYthe joys-the many joyful limes God permitted usto have together. God has been most merciful andgracious to US!"Remember our common faith in our Lord andSavior Jesus Christ. He lives in our hearts. Andthink of me as living in your hearts and lives now,too."So 'do not sorrow as those who have no hope.'I will see you again! I love each of you somuch--each in a very special and different way."So now rejoice!

preached hundreds more funeral sermons than its author. The goal here, however, is to focus on what constitutes a biblical funeral sermon while simultaneously directing readers to various resources.' The author is particularly indebted to the insights provided by Robert G. Hughes in A Trumpet in Darkness: Preaching to ourners.' I.