Monday, May 16, 2011

Funeral Sermons

I was once told that it was the custom in the old Synodical Conference for a Christians's confirmation verse to serve as the sermon text at his funeral. I have no idea what the history of this is (a German thing? a Medieval thing? a Lutheran thing?) and have only half heartedly tried to track it down - maybe one of you will know. But I have found it of immense practical use. A confirmation verse gives, as it were, a port of entry into the Gospel that must be preached at every Christian funeral and thus helps keep the preacher from falling into worn out clich├ęs.

What to do when the church records do not give a confirmation verse (especially common with adult confirmations)? Look at the propers for the Sunday of the week in which the confirmation took place and choose a verse from those propers - the Introit, Gradual, and Verse are the richest mines in this regard.

+HRC

5 comments:

  1. For some reason, using confirmation verses as funeral texts is hardwired into my brain. It's my first choice, unless I can't find it.

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  2. In the olden days it was printed on the certificate but I find that few certificates have space for it now and too many are lost forever if the person himself is not there to recall it... sad

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  3. Fr. Peters,

    Start getting your certificates here - these are fantastic!

    http://www.agnusdeiprinting.com/

    +HRC

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  4. Seem to recall that Scaer had an essay in Logia in 2007, entitled "Confirmation in the Lutheran Church," in which he said that the personal Bible verse for confirmation came out of the era of Pietism. Don't recall how deep he went into the investigation. In that essay he relied heavily on Bjarne Hareide's German text, of which I do not possess a copy.

    Rinas

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  5. Should correct my errors here. Scaer's essay, "Confirmation as a Sacramental Rite," is in Logia, Epiphany 2006, 49-58. His reference to the giving of a confirmation verse (more from era of Rationalism and not Pietism) is on p.54. You may also amend Endnotes 38 & 39 on p.58. Endnote 38 should read p.560 and Endnote 39 should read p.561. These page numbers are from Senn's monumental Christian Liturgy volume. You could skip Scaer and just read Senn on p.561, where he gives the goods on the Rationalists' approach to Confirmation.

    Rinas

    ReplyDelete

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