My mother’s aunt died Tuesday at the age of 80. Since I was in the ministry for a few years many years ago, the family always calls on me to officiate weddings & funerals.
The trouble is, “Aunt Jean” hadn’t set foot in a church in 60 years. She believed in a “higher power” but not in a god, per se. She called herself “spiritual” and she “worshipped” (for lack of a better choice of words) wolves, horses, cloud formations, rivers, trees, etc.
The family doesn’t want me or expect me to do any kind of pagan ceremony. Basically they’re asking me to emcee a sort-of party that they’re calling a “life celebration.” It will consist of poems, music, eulogies, etc. There will be no prayers, no invocations of God’s name, and no hymns.
I have no problem doing this, as nothing in my religious beliefs prevents me from emceeing a party. The problem is that the only funerals I’ve ever done have been run-of-the-mill Christian burials. Nothing in my manual mentions anything like this.
I’m trying to think of a minute-by-minute program for this, but I have no idea where to start. I have a general idea of where I want to go with this, but I’m short on specifics. Here’s what I have in mind:
-Guests enter the building as some kind of music plays. The family will probably pick a CD with like classical guitar or something, as “Aunt Jean” wasn’t much for church-y music.
-I welcome them. I’m at a total loss for what to say. Any ideas?
-I read the obituary.
-I read a poem. I have one in mind, from the Lord of the Rings books. It goes like this:
“Though here at journey’s end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.”
-A song is played. The one I have in mind is “100 Years” by Five for Fighting.
-Eulogies (I ask if anyone wants to come share memories).
-Two more poems (the family has two picked out).
-Another song?? (any ideas???)
-Thank everyone and dismiss them (again, no idea what to say).
If you think you can help me with this, I appreciate it.