Death confronts us in the depths of our being. It is a momentous and intimidating event, and it can leave us disoriented and afraid. It is important to find ways of approaching death that allow us to acknowledge it, accept it, and move forward in hope.
From the perspective of faith, dying can be a beautiful and meaningful transition, an opening to new life. The priest and the deacons are always willing to be with someone who is dying, to offer prayer and hope, and to offer a loving and steady presence at a difficult and often frightening time. We will come to either home or hospital and offer “Last Rites,” or prayers for the dying (and for those trying to cope with the loss).
It has been the practice of the Christian Church for many centuries to gather at the time of death in order to reflect and commemorate, to commiserate and comfort, and to express our hope and faith that “in Christ shall all be made alive.” A funeral service (or memorial) is an opportunity for reflection, thanksgiving, prayer, and mutual support, a time to be reassured and upheld by the spiritual resources of the Christian faith.