The Word of God
The word of God is of great importance in the funeral rite. The readings proclaim the meaning that Christ himself gave to death, teach us to remember the dead, nourish our hope of being gathered together again in Gods kingdom, and encourage us to live the Christian life. Above all, the readings tell of Gods design for a world in which suffering and death will be destroyed. In the readings all present have an opportunity to hear God speak to them in their needs, sorrows, fears and hopes.
At the funeral liturgy the biblical readings may not be replaced by non-biblical ones. But during prayer services with the family non-biblical readings may be used in addition to readings from Scripture (see below).
Members of the family may be invited to read the scripture readings.
Many people nowadays wish to include in the funeral a reading or poem which is not from the bible. Please bear the following points in mind.
In the celebration of the word of God at the funeral liturgy, the biblical readings may not be replaced. However, an additional reading, inspired by faith, could be appropriate as a meditation after the homily. Alternatively, a non-biblical reading may be incorporated into the words of remembrance spoken by a member of the family or a friend later in the funeral liturgy.
In a service at home or in hospital, non-biblical readings or poems can be used effectively, as these services are less formal than the funeral liturgy in church, though the Scriptures should not be entirely displaced.
The psalms express the suffering and pain, the hope and trust of people of every age. Above all they sing of faith in God and of redemption. They enable us to pray in the words that Jesus himself, who knew anguish and the fear of death, used during his life on earth.
Psalms are used in many places in the funeral rites, in particular as responses to the readings, and at the vigil service.
The psalms are songs, and should be sung whenever possible.