Monday, November 26, 2012

Rite for the Re-Committal of Remains

Prayers at the Re-Committal of a Body
November 2012

Opening Sentences

When the people are gathered at the grave, the Presiding Minister says the following Sentences.

The souls of the righteous are in your hands, O God, *
            and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, *
            and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
and their going from us to be their destruction; *
            but they are at peace.
Those who trust in you will understand truth, *
            and the faithful will abide with you in love,
because grace and mercy are upon your holy ones, *
            and you watch over your elect.[i]  Wisdom 3.1-3, 9

Opening Prayer

After the Sentences the following Prayer is said or sung by the Presiding Minister.

Let us pray.

O God,
our Lord and heavenly Father,
we give thanks for the life
you have breathed into humanity,
and we remember before you the life of N,
who has gone before us to your nearer presence.

As his/her mortal remains are returned to their place of rest,
we put our trust in you.
May those who bear responsibility for this process
show care and compassion,
and be given wisdom and skill,
so that N ’s journey’s end may be reached
safe in your presence.

In your great mercy comfort those who grieve,
and grant that all who look to you
may continually grow in hope and faith
until they come to know the fullness of your love
in the glory of your eternal kingdom,
where all your children rejoice in your holy presence for ever;
through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.[ii]

A Short Reading from the Scriptures

After the Opening Prayer the Presiding Minister or a Member of the Family or a Friend may read the following Reading or other appropriate text from the Scriptures.

            [Jesus said to his disciples,] “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”  John 14.1-3

After the Reading the following may be said or sung.

Here what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.

Re-Committal of the Body to its Resting Place

The remains are placed in the grave.  The Presiding Minister then re-commits the remains saying,

Our brother/sister N was entrusted to the mercy of God
and laid to rest in the hope of the resurrection.
We now re-commit his/her body to its resting place
and pray that he/she may rest undisturbed
until the fullness of the resurrection
when Christ shall gather all his saints
to reign with him in glory for ever.  Amen.[iii]

Members of the Family and Friends may place soil in the grave or other signs of their affection.

Prayers after the Re-Committal

The Presiding Minister then says or sings the following Prayer.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,
you alone can heal our broken hearts;
you alone can wipe away the tears
that well up inside us;
you alone can give us the peace we need;
you alone can strengthen us to carry on.
We ask you to be near those whose grief
has been renewed by events beyond their control.
Assure them that with you nothing is wasted or incomplete,
and uphold them with your tender love.
Supported by your strength,
may our love for one another be deepened
by the knowledge of your love for us all.  Amen.[iv]

Gathering all our cares into one, let us pray as our Saviour taught us,
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
And now, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


Rest eternal grant to him/her, O Lord.
And let light perpetual shine upon him/her.

May his/her soul,
and the souls of all the departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Let us go forth in the name of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

[i] Wisdom 3.1-3, 9 emended for inclusive language by R. G. Leggett.

[ii] ‘Exhumation Prayer’ found at on 24 November 2012 and altered by R. G. Leggett.

[iii] Common Worship:  Pastoral Services (2000), 314 altered by R. G. Leggett.

[iv] Common Worship:  Pastoral Services (2000), 309 altered by R. G. Leggett.

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