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Image showing a Christian funeral service in a church, with mourners gathered around a casket adorned with flowers. The minister leads the service, offering prayers and comforting words to the grieving family and friends. The atmosphere is solemn and reflective, conveying a sense of faith, hope, and the journey towards eternal peace

What are Christian Funeral Rites?

May 12, 2021

What are Christian Funeral Rites?

Christians strongly believe in the afterlife. The faith revolves around the concept of heaven, hell, and a purgatory. Where you end up after your death is determined by your actions and behaviour in life. The righteous going to heaven, and the sinners going to hell. Additionally, those who have committed forgivable sins will go to purgatory and serve penance for their sins until they’re ready to be welcomed into heaven.

Christian funeral services focus on the journey of the departed to find eternal peace in heaven. The final rites prepare the soul for salvation and everlasting peace, acting as a rite of passage. It also serves to lessen the grief of those left behind by giving them hope that their beloved will be in the safest hands of God in the afterlife. 

 

What Are The Steps Involved?

There are several carefully crafted steps involved in a Christian burial before the body can be entered into consecrated ground.

 

1. Preparation of the Body

The body is carefully washed. It’s a Christian belief that cleanliness is close to Godliness, and so the body has to be clean as it enters the gates of heaven. After cleansing, the body is embalmed. This often happens before the funeral service. The deceased is then dressed in their best clothes before being placed in the casket of the family’s choice. Their hands are placed in a crossed position atop their chest as they would be after communion. Some families also opt to place a rosary or prayer book in the hands of the deceased.

2. The Wake

The Christian wake is the modern, modified version of the practice of sitting with the body. Friends and family gather at the funeral home to mourn with the family and share in the grief of loss. Personal photographs and flowers may be displayed at the funeral home during the time of the wake.

The casket is also displayed at the wake. It may be closed or open according to the family’s preference and the circumstances of death. The body is displayed so that those gathered can acknowledge the reality of their loss.

There is often a prayer service at the funeral home where prayers, songs, and scriptures are read to comfort the family members and lighten their burden.

 

3. The Service

The funeral service is traditionally held in a church. The minister or the priest enters first. Pallbearers carry the casket in and are followed by the family members. The same protocols are followed when leaving the church. The service includes prayers and hymns of comfort and hope. The priest gives a sermon reminding those present at the funeral that death is not the end. That eternal life in heaven is waiting for those who lived in faith. The funeral service also includes a selection of passages from the old and new testaments and the gospels. At the end of the service, the family and friends of the deceased will go to the gravesite.

4. The Graveside Service

Christian funerals also include a small service at the grave. The body is committed to the grave as prayers are spoken by the minister. This is when friends and family say their last goodbyes before placing flowers or small amounts of dirt on the casket as a final farewell.

 

The death of a loved one can be a harrowing experience. The belief in an afterlife and eternal salvation is something that gives those left behind some semblance of hope during these trying times. We at Perth Cremations listen to our clients’ needs and take action accordingly. Let’s help you through this difficult time.


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