Eulogies (fancy term for “words of praise) are not as common at Lutheran funerals compared to the funerals of other Christian denominations. The pastoral concern with eulogies is the snare of works righteousness. Simply put, such a eulogy insinuates our deceased loved on is with God in heaven because he or she was a good person.
As Lutherans, we affirm the biblical truth that all men are sinners (Romans 3:23). No one is “good” except God’s Son Jesus (Psalm 14:3; Mark 10:18). The only hope for sinners is through faith in Christ. Through his sinless life, innocent death, and powerful resurrection he has opened heaven to all believers (Revelation 5:3-5).
With this said, it is common for our people to be asked to offer a eulogy. To aid in that process I submit the following observations and suggestions.
1. Begin by writing down positive memories of your loved one.
2. Select a bible passage to describe your loved one, their faith, or your relationship. If you’d like guidance try reading: Job 19:21-27, Psalm 27, Lamentations 3:22-33, Romans 8:31-39, 1 John 3:1-2, Matthew 5:1-12, John 10:11-16, or John 14:1-6.
3. You may use the following outline
i. Introduce yourself and describe your relationship with the departed.
ii. Read the selected bible verse/passage.
iii. Tell a fitting anecdote and/or humorous story.
iv. Give thanks to God that we will soon be reunited with our loved ones in paradise.
4. Some struggle to keep composer while delivering the eulogy. It may be helpful to write it out beforehand and read it verbatim. I would suggest 100-300 words.
5. Done well, a eulogy can give a beautiful expression of a person’s life of saving faith in Christ. Such a eulogy expresses that the love of Jesus overflowed in their thoughts, words, and deeds toward the Lord and humanity.
May the living Christ comfort you in grief and sorrow until the day when he will dry all our tears.