I need help choosing Bible passages for a funeral.

So my friend and I are planning this funeral for a 54 year old Catholic woman (her mother, my friend). The priest asked us the other day if we had any specific Bible quotes we’d like read during the service. The problem is, neither of us are particularily familiar with the Bible (atheists), and which quotes might be appropriate. We’ll ask the priest on Monday for any suggestions he might have, or maybe we’ll just have him wing it, but I asked her if she’d like me to start this thread and she said she would.

It’s not going to be a Catholic service. I’m not sure if that’s important or not, but whatever. Whatever suggestions you guys can come up with before Monday will be printed out and shared with my friend for her consideration. We’d both appreciate the help a whole bunch.

Thanks in advance and stuff.

I’m sorry for your loss.
The easiest place to start is probably Psalms.
One that I’ve heard at many a Catholic funeral mass:

“Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil:
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
“I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.
God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep.
Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade at your righthand.
By day the sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever.” Psalm 121:2-8

I forgot to ask, are you to pick the readings? If so,
this site might help.

Every mass will include one reading from the OT, one (usually) from an Epistle, and one from the Gospels. If you need to pick readings, just do a search on each of these and see if one really strikes you as appropriate. Some, like Ecclesiastes, will be familiar.

I’d say talk to the priest. But the following passages are suggested during the Episcopal church’s *The Burial of the Dead: Rite Two[/], and are one’s I plan on having included at my own funeral

From the Old Testament, Job 19:23-27 “Oh that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the las he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”

From the New Testament, Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we s=are more than conquerors through him who loved us. for I am convinced tha neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, not things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, no depth, nor anthing else in all creation, will be able to separate is from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I will also recommend Psalm 121, that jsgoddess already quoted.

My condolences on you and your friend’s loss.

Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd) is a very good choice.

Ps. 27:1, 4-9, 13-14 (selected verses only). Ps. 4; Ps. 130.

Romans 8:31-35, 38-39:

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:31-35, 38-39, RSV)

A few NT passages which are a little stronger but deal directly with the subject:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. “For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection under him,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one. (1 Cor. 15:20-28, RSV)

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18, RSV)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:1-4, RSV)

There are other passages, but IMO these are some of the best. I hope you find something appropriate.

(N.B.: I’ve quoted from the RSV as I find the older versions more poetic than the newer translations, but the priest will probably choose his own version.)

Ecclesiastes 31:10-31
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life . . . .
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. . . .
Her children rise up and priase her; her husband, too, extols her:
“Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.”
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

A few more (drawn mainly from the Eastern tradition as suitable for funerals):

Psalm 91 and Psalm 118 (which is the funeral psalm in the Byzantine rite - it’s the longest one, that details how the righteous should live)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but hath passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I bear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:24 - 30 KJV.

One that’s not part of any funeral tradition that I’m familiar with, but I have always thought is especially appropriate, is Psalm 68, which is a prophecy of Pascha and Christ’s destruction of death, which contains the line:

“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive” (Ps. 68:18).

John 14:1-3:
*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 take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. *

Thanks for the link. I tried using Google to find the verses but… no. I’ll have to dig up a Bible from somewhere tomorrow. I don’t have the brain power to do any of this right now anyway. I figured we’d find some verses we like and then bring them to the priest to see what he thinks. After all, he’s done this a billion times to our one time, so he ought to know what will work and what won’t. I think rather than printing this thread, I’ll just write down the books, chapters, and verses you all are suggesting and I’ll bring the list to Dani tomorrow; we can page through the Bible together at that time.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I haven’t read through all the passages you’ve given, but I will. Thanks for your condolences and stuff, too.

How about something uploifting like

That wacky god fellow

There are various versions of the Bible online at http://bible.gospelcom.net if you want to be able to read through these verses now.
I am sorry for your loss. From your other posts it sounds like she was a lovely lady.