Burial rites in Episcopal church offer comfort, joy, and hope

Burial rites in Episcopal church offer comfort, joy, and hope

On page 506 of The Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church is An Order for Burial. It lays out in clear language the order of the service, which remains essentially the same, no matter who is being buried. Everything is grounded in the hope of the Resurrection.

The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised.

The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ 
Jesus our Lord.”

This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, 
we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.

The Prayer Book offers two options: The Burial of the Dead, Rite One, with more traditional language, and The Burial of the Dead, Rite Two, with slightly more contemporary language.

The Prayer Book also offers several choices for readings from scripture, as well as  special prayers at the Burial of a Child. The service may or may not include a celebration of Holy Communion. The specifics of the service are planned by the officiating clergy in consultation with the bereaved.

And at the heart of it all is this acclamation:

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth. 
After my awaking, he will raise me up;
and in my body I shall see God.
I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger.