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Ordinary Time

Living into Dying

All Years

The  death of a friend, family member, member of the church, or even a  stranger is a moment of pastoral ministry that comes with regularity in  the life of our congregations. Our response to these moments comes in  the central message of our faith: God continues to bring out new life  from the loss and devastation of death. The death of a member of the  human family (and that includes you) calls for the best of our ministry  of compassion and care and the best of our ability to proclaim new life  in the face of death.

We are an Easter people. The burial of the dead is an  Easter liturgy because as God raises Jesus from the dead, we too shall  be raised. Through both the burial rite and the pastoral rituals  surrounding death and burial we acknowledge that we, the living, are on  this journey toward the heart of the holy and undivided Trinity.

It is a journey we must prepare for. Indeed, there are theologians who claim all religious life is a preparation for the moment we die.

With this service, your liturgy,  preaching and coffee hour presentations may focus on end-of-life  preparations that are spiritual and transcendent, as well as practical  and hands-on.

Consider these topics:

  • “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody  Wants to Die” addressing why and how to start the conversations about  planning for a good death.

  • “Your Body Before and After Death” with someone from the local funeral home and/or from Hospice.

  • “Your Stuff” with an attorney who can speak  generally to wills, having a power of attorney, estate planning and the  best practices for planning for your legacy.

  • “Your Funeral” which could include a review of  the way leadership plans funerals, and a series of short individual  meetings with people where simple music or reception requests can be  heard and noted.


The practice of anointing people with oil is an  ancient practice dating back to biblical times. Its chief functions have  been to bring about healing or restoration of health to those that are  sick or suffering and it is also used to consecrate or make holy a  person or object.

Sacramental use of oil is an outward sign of God's  active presence for healing. Anointing with oil may accompany prayers  for healing and the laying on of hands when a person is suffering or  ill, often when a person is in the hospital or confined otherwise.

As part of our Living into Your Dying series consider offering anointing to anyone who seeks this public gesture of community blessing for healing after Communion. Here is a beautiful video about this ancient practice.

Living into Dying Holy Communion
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Living into Dying Word and Prayer
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