A COMPASSIONATE INTERNET CHRISTIAN CHURCH MINISTRY
Things to think about when planning a service:
The human survivor quite often mourns the death of their companion animal just as much as they would their own child, and they need to be assured that these feelings are perfectly natural and a reflection of their deep love.
Talking to the human survivor will help you also understand something about his or her life with the departed companion; and encouraging them to talk about their life together will also help the person heal by focusing more upon the good memories than the pain they feel. Also ask if they have a favorite Bible verse they would like to be included in the service. (Incorporate some of these things into the service.)
Always use the departed companion's name when referring to him or her.
Encourage the mourners to say something at the service, but be prepared to fill in if they are not able to do so.
Find out what kind of service is wanted (funeral and burial vs. memorial) (short vs. long).
Find out if there are other companion animals, and if any of them are deeply mourning. (We have had a couple of companions who would have died of sorrow, if we had not intervened.)
Always put yourself in the position of the mourners, and provide them with the same comfort and support that you would want.
Personalize the service as much a possible.
Try not to be reading the service from a prepared script.
It is a good idea to have your Bible open for the service with paper tabs to the verses you are going to be reading, and on these tabs. (We number these tabs in the order of the service and have the animal's name at the top for easy remembrance, followed by the reference to the Bible passage to be read, and include any notes on the things we want to say.)
Suggested order of the service: (Be flexible and adjust as needed)
Welcome: Greet the people. If it is just a few family members this can be eliminated or modified.
Reason for the Service: We are gathered here today to honor the life of (name), and to celebrate (his/her) eternal life with God in heaven.
Assurance: If we allow our soul and spirit and mind to soar into heaven, we can see what John saw in Revelation 5:11-13...
11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures [animals] and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
13 And every created thing [humans, other animals, and perhaps everything else that God created] which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
And we know that these animals are in heaven because God created every human, and every other animal as a living soul (Hebrew: neh-fesh khah-yaw). So, if we go to heaven, then so do the animals.
Take comfort in these things, for one day, it we believe in the Lord, we will once again be joined together with our beloved companions in heaven. And you (look at the human mourners) will be with (name) forever and ever. Amen!
Prayer: Dear Lord, we commit into your everlasting arms this day the loving soul and spirit of (name). We ask that (name's) new life in heaven be full of joy and happiness. Please comfort us who mourn, and fill our thoughts with the joyful time we had with (name), until we once again are joined together in heaven. Thank you for time that (name) was with us, and for your everlasting love. Amen!
In Remembrance: Insert here some personal things that your learned about the mourners and the deceased.
Selected Bible passages: (Choose a few of these or any others you desire, and comment in ways that are applicable to the mourners.)
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,
26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.
22 "Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 In remembrance of (name's) love.
4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails;
And (name's) love will sustain you all the days of your life.
Burial: (Have the grave prepared before the service begins.)
In Genesis 23, we are told of the death of Sarah and of Abraham's desire to find a proper burial place. And He said, "give me a burial site among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." (verse 4) Abraham said this because he loved Sarah very much and didn't want to remember her as a dead body; he wanted to remember her as the vibrant person she was in life, just as we want to remember the life of (name).
We now commit the (body/ashes) of (name) to the earth in the hope of the resurrection to come. (The family members place the deceased in the grave, and cover with soil.)
Gracious God, we thank you for those we love but see no more. Receive into your arms your servant (name), whose love we have cherished so much. Grant that (name) may go from strength to strength in loving service in your heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Read or recite together Psalm 23, or The Lord's Prayer.)
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your lovingkindness that has given (name) a forever home in heaven. And once again, we ask you to comfort each of us who remain behind here on earth, until that day we are once again joined together with you in heaven. Amen! This concluded our service. (Say some short words of comfort to each of the mourners, individually, particularly any children.)
This service can be modified any way you want to provide the support and comfort that you believe the mourners need.
Call after a few days to see how the family is doing.
Christian Ministries for Animals and the People Who Care About Them
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