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4 Tips for Crafting Funeral Sermons

Lessons I learned from preaching funeral sermons during a pandemic.
4 Tips for Crafting Funeral Sermons
Image: Jacky Lam / EyeEm / Getty

I thought I’d found my groove for funerals. I used to feel calm as they approached. I used to feel competent, I felt I knew exactly what to do. That is, until the pandemic hit.

My first funeral after lockdown was the funeral of Eddy, a sweet elderly member of our church. He died of coronavirus. At Eddy’s funeral, nothing was the same.

The four familiar walls of our church sanctuary were replaced with the windy hill beside the grave. My congregation had drastically shrunk in size: only five people were able to gather that day, besides myself. No one was handing out tissues or hugging the bereaved. Instead, each of us stood alone. The mourners’ faces were hidden behind dark sunglasses and disposable masks.

As I led the service, and as I preached to this group, the service and my message felt all wrong. It felt like the funeral service equivalent of last season’s fashion: it didn’t fit anymore and it didn’t belong. The old prayers didn’t seem to address ...

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