Whether you’re attending your first funeral or your 50th, it’s often a sombre experience each time. A funeral is an intimate affair for the grieving family. If you are invited to attend one, it generally means the family regard you as a close friend. The last thing you’ll want to do is to disrespect and offend them by doing unknowingly doing something you shouldn’t do.
To help you better prepare for the funeral procession, we’ve gathered the dos and don’ts you’ll want to observe when attending a Christian funeral.
Do’s and don’ts
- Remember to dress appropriately.
It is common to dress in black when attending a funeral. If black is not an option, choose appropriately dull colours such as grey, white or navy blue instead. Avoid any clothes that are too revealing or have bright colours.
- Avoid leaving mid-way through the service.
It is not taboo to leave the wake if you have urgent business to attend to. However, it can be distracting to leave abruptly in the middle of the service. There is typically an itinerary available at the wake to inform the guests of the service’s timings. If not, you can ask one of the family members who will be aware of this. Should you be required to leave early, make sure to schedule your departure before the service starts.
- Do not touch the bible at the altar.
In a Christian funeral, an open bible is placed at the altar instead of a joss-stick holder. Do not touch this bible as it is not meant to be removed.
What to expect at a Christian funeral
Prayers are an essential part of any Christian funeral service. The pastor or minister presiding over the service will start the service with a prayer. Family members and close friends of the deceased are encouraged to offer their prayers as well.
The pastor will also speak to the congregation, usually offering messages themed around life and death. They will then guide the attendees to read verses from the bible. The singing of songs and hymns are also commonplace in Christian funerals.
If you have a eulogy prepared, you are welcomed to step forward and share it with the congregation. The most important thing is to speak from the heart as a eulogy is meant to commemorate the deceased’s life.
Unlike a Buddhist funeral, where cremation is typically the option chosen, the family has the option to opt for either a cremation or a burial service at the end of the funeral. Before the casket is lowered at the gravesite or into the cremation site, the pastor will lead the assembly in reading the bible verses once more. Once the body is lower or is cremated, the funeral service ends.
The pain of losing a loved one can be excruciating. Your presence and condolences can go a long way in helping them grieve. Therefore, it is vital to note the proper etiquette when attending a Christian funeral and ensure you pay proper respect to the deceased and his/her family.
Those looking to arrange a Christian funeral but may be unaware of the proper ritual and etiquette. We offer a myriad of funeral services to meet all your funeral needs. We aim to provide guidance and support to ease the family’s burden during this challenging time.