Originally posted on June 24, 2011
(A graveside service for children)
There is no way to make what we are going to do here now easy. As we actually put the body that your Grandmother used to live in into the grave, we feel all kinds of things, like there is something basically wrong about this. And God understands these feelings better than we do. Our feelings of sadness feel like fear and sometimes it all feels like confusion. That’s because death is both and enemy and a friend.
It is an enemy because it robs us of time together with someone we love. God doesn’t like it either. We would not have sickness and death if we didn’t have sin. Death is an enemy BUT it is an enemy that God did defeat when Jesus rose again from the dead. Our bodies still have to die but when they do, if we belong to Jesus, He comes to get us and we don’t die at all. We just move to where He is and wait there for the rest of the family. Actually, the person who goes to Heaven doesn’t wait because there is no time there. It is we, here on earth that wait. And then finally at the end of everything here on earth, we all get new bodies, but I’m not sure how that works.
Death is a friend because when we have lived on this earth for as long as God thinks it is a good idea, death let’s us get free from this body that the Bible calls a tent. This is what happened to your Grandmother and what we are going to do now is place her tent in the grave because she doesn’t need it anymore. Your Grandmother isn’t here at the cemetery today. She’s already gone on ahead with Jesus. But we don’t throw her body just anywhere because it is the thing that she lived in and we want to show respect for it. This place will have a maker with her name on it. It will be a place where you can visit if you want to, and remember some of the special times you have had together.
Sometimes it might feel to you like Grandmother is actually talking to you when you remember some of the things she has said to you. That will be the Holy Spirit reminding you of the truth she taught you. The Bible tells us not to talk to the dead but the Holy Spirit loves to remind us of truth. And if you want to say something to her you can ask Jesus to tell her.
In 2 Timothy 1:5 & 6 Paul reminds Timothy that he sincerely trusts the Lord because he has the faith of his mother and of his grandmother. He that tells him to fan into flame the spiritual gift God gave him. My prayer for you today is that you will hang on tight to the faith of your Grandmother and live a life as she did that looks like Jesus.
Because God, who is in charge of everything, has called your Grandmother home to Himself, we now commit the body she used to live in to the earth. And we commit her into the hands of her loving heavenly Father and his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who said,” I am going ahead to get a room ready for you.”
Please leave a comment if you find this being helpful for children at a graveside committal service.
I think this is very helpful. Would you say the same thing for someone whose body was cremated? The urn may be buried but it also may not be. There may just be a memorial service. I’m curious to know how you would change your comments.
Thanks for this great question. When either burial or cremation is chosen these comments must be adapted to the individual family and the age of the children considered. I have been surprised, though, at how many adults find this helpful at a graveside service. In the case of cremation, there may not be the same emotional impact as that which is buried is not recognizable. I think I would say that Grandma has left her body and is with God. Since she doesn’t need her body anymore people who know how to do it have prepared her body so that it fits in this container. If the child asks if the body has been burned I would answer yes, but I don’t know if I would lead with this. If the cremains are sprinkled somewhere that can be a place of memory OR a tree can be planted or a rock garden created and that can be designated as the place where we tell Grandma stories. I look forward to your response to these ideas.
Roselyn in this posting you have blended the two ministry worlds you know so well, children and their grandparents. I greatly appreciate your wisdom and insight. These thoughts will surely prove helpful to me in the futuure.