Who’s hope, who gives it and who pronounces it? (cf committal prayer and how it works with those who are unchurched) is one of the questions I asked as an opener to this blog.
In the funeral service, and following some debate with others around the use of the following:
“Since the earthly life of N has come to an end we commit her/his body to be cremated/to the elements/to be buried, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (MWB p457)
“God alone is holy and just and good. In this certainty we have commended N to God. We therefore commit her/his body to be cremated/to the elements/to be buried, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; trusting in the infinite mercy of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (MWB p458)
The debate came about in which of these is more appropriate to be used with those who have a more tentative link to the church. I personally prefer the first, as it gives a clear message of what is being declared and clearly states what is believed as the things to come. The second option to me while giving comforting words does not make things clear.
However back to the original question: who’s hope is this. The minister leading the service clearly states that it is their hope, however I would also see this as a wider hope that the church pronounces and does this is reflection of the opening scripture that is said as the minister goes before the body.
‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ says the Lord. ‘Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’ John 11:25-26