Funeral Readings | CFS

Funeral Readings

Choosing readings for the funeral of a loved friend or family member can seem daunting, and we're all familiar with that feeling of wanting to get it right. Here are some of the most popular biblical and secular readings along with a selection of frequently-chosen poems.

Popular Bible Readings

There is an appointed time for everything,

and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be boren, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to tear down, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;

a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.

Speak tenderly to jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated;

Indeed, she has received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:

In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!

Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!

Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low;

The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

A voice says, "Cry out"

I answer, "What shall I cry out?"

"All mankind is grass and all their glory like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it.

Surely the people are grass. Though the grass withers and the flower wilts the word of our God stands forever."

Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings;

Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news!

Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah:

Here is your God!

Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm;

Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.

Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;

in his arms he gathers the lambs,

Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.

For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

When people are saying, "Peace and security", then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labour pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief.

For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness.

Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober...

For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.

Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains ust a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

Whoever loves lis life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.

The Father will honour whoever serves me. I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?

'Father, save me from this hour'?

But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.

'Father, glorify your name.'

Then a voice came from Heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again"."

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this He breathed His last.

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council...

He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no-one had yet been buried.

But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they ebtered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They said to them, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised."

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want

He makes me lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside still waters,

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;

For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows,

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord

Those who believe in me shall live;

And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord

Those who believe in me shall live;

And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlastng God, The Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary, His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be wary, they shall walk and not faint.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.

I am going there to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and tae you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

You know the way to place where I am going."

Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me."

Click for a downloadable PDF of these readings.

Popular poems

Time will not dim the face I love,

The voice I heard each day,

The many things you did for me,

In your own special way.

All my life I'll miss you,

As the years come and go,

But in my heart I'll keep you,

Because I love you so.

A light went out on Earth for me,

The day we said goodbye,

And on that day a star was born,

The brightest in the sky.

Reaching through the darkness,

With its rays of purest white,

Lighting up the Heavens,

As it once lit up my life.

With beams of love to heal,

The broken heart you left behind,

Where always in my memory,

Your lovely star will shine.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'.

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever:

I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

An honest man here lies at rest,

The friend of man, the friend of truth,

The friends of age, and guide of youth:

Few hearts like his, with vitrue warm'd,

Few heads with knowledge so inform'd;

If there's another world, he lives in bliss;

If there is none, he made the best of this.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight,

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there. I did not die.

You can shed tears that she is gone,

Or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,

Or you can be full of the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone,

Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what she would want:

Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.

I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.

I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,

Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.

I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;

Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,

I'm following the path path God laid for me.

I took his Hand when I heard Him call,

I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day, to laugh,

To love, to work or play.

Tasks undone must stay that way

I've found that peace at the close of the day.

If parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joy,

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,

Ah, yes, tese things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow

I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life's been full, I savoured much

Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,

Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.

Lift up your hearts and share with me,

God wants me now, He set me free.

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet, turning, stay.

Remember me, when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann'd:

Only yremember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then, or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Tha that you should remember and be sad.

It was beautiful as long as it lasted, the journey of my life.

I have no regrets whatsoever save the pain I'll leave behind.

Those dear hearts who love and care...

And the strings pulling at the heart and soul...

The strong arms that held me up

When my own strength let me down.

At every turning of my life

I came across good friends,

Friends who stood by me

Even when time raced by me.

Farewell, farewell my friend.

I smile and bid you goodbye.

No, shed no tears for I need them not.

All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad do think of me for that's what I'll like.

When you live in the hearts of those you love, remember then,

You never die.

Click for a downloadable PDF of these poems.

As with every other aspect of arranging a funeral at what is already a very challenging time, please don't hesitate to call us on 01209 211684 for friendly, helpful, expert advice.