Friday 14 February 2014

Word & World 34, 1 (2014) on The Funeral

The latest issue of Word & World is devoted to ‘The Funeral’. The content (with main articles and abstracts as below) is available from here.


Frederick J. Gaiser
“Douglas ist tot”


Thomas Lynch
All Saints, All Souls
The religious and community response to a death in the family has gone astray, leaving the bereaved hard pressed to reinvent a wheel to work the important space between faith and feeling, body and soul, bereavement and belief, the living and the dead. It falls to first responders, clergy among them, to help the heartsore find their way again, to funerals that affirm faith, manage grief, and – by getting the dead where they need to go – get the living where they need to be.

Brian Wentzel
Expressing Grief and Proclaiming Hope: Toward a Proper Hymn of the Day for Funerals
By choosing a hymn of the day to be sung regularly at funerals, congregations can truly preach to one another and to those who grieve. An appropriate funeral hymn of the day will possess context, substance, and ownership; that is, it will be a well-known hymn that is responsive to the day’s texts or themes in a theologically substantive way.

Mark Granquist
From the Other Side: Funeral Directors Talk about the Changing Face of Funerals
This report of interviews with funeral directors will provide pastors with insight on funeral trends from the side of these professionals. More, it might serve as an impetus for useful conversations between pastors and funeral directors in their areas.

Gracia Grindal
Making a Good Death
What practices make a good death for a faithful Christian? It might be more important to plan for the event of dying itself and to relate this to our family and friends than to plan for the funeral.

Andrés Roberto Albertsen
Politically Charged Funerals in Argentina
The enforced disappearance of persons is not a chapter of Argentine history that can be left in the past, but a crime of continuous nature that is and should remain part of the Argentines’ present. God will not let those afflicted be satisfied until the last disappeared person is located. This, of course, cannot happen in history, so God will not let Argentines and others who care be satisfied this side of the eschaton.

Martha Stortz
Practicing Resurrection: Grief and the Christian Funeral
The Christian funeral invites mourners from suffering into grief. Meaning is being restored as the shards of a life now ended come together into a new narrative: the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Michael Rogness
Preaching at the “Tough” Funerals
Funerals for the “tough” cases – tragic deaths or deaths where there has been little or no evidence of faith in the deceased – provide difficult moments for pastors but also moments of great opportunity. The good news of the gospel is always applicable, but its articulation and application in these hard situations will call forth all of a pastor’s skill and tact.

Thomas G. Long
The Possibility of a Good Funeral
A “good funeral” is one that fulfills two primary purposes: to accompany the body of the deceased to the place of farewell and to tell well the story of what this life and death means. The good funeral will have a sense of movement and a sense of meaning.

Justin J. Lind-Ayres
The Power of Biblical Metaphor in the Face of Death
In the face of death, God’s people and Christian pastors turn to the Bible, often to a relatively small group of texts (a “canon within the canon”) that use rich metaphors to redescribe the reality of the people gathered for the funeral service.

Face to Face

Gary Dreier
The Funeral Sermon: Remembering the Deceased

John E. Quam
The Funeral Sermon: Proclaiming the Gospel

Texts in Context

Richard Nysse
Funerals before the Funeral Service
Addressing the reality of death at the time of the funeral is too late. The pastor’s judicious use of biblical laments prior to any specific funeral will help prepare people to recognize the full terror of death so resurrection can be heard with the surprise it deserves.


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