Book of Common Prayer (ECUSA)/Pastoral Offices/Burial of the Dead: Rite Two

Concerning the Service

The death of a member of the Church should be reported as soon as possible to, and arrangements for the funeral should be made in consultation with, the Minister of the Congregation.

Baptized Christians are properly buried from the church. The service should be held at a time when the congregation has opportunity to be present.

The coffin is to be closed before the service, and it remains closed thereafter. It is appropriate that it be covered with a pall or other suitable covering.

If necessary, or if desired, all or part of the service of Committal may be said in the church. If preferred, the Committal service may take place before the service in the church. It may also be used prior to cremation.

A priest normally presides at the service. It is appropriate that the bishop, when present, preside at the Eucharist and pronounce the Commendation.

It is desirable that the Lesson from the Old Testament, and the Epistle, be read by lay persons.

When the services of a priest cannot be obtained, a deacon or lay reader may preside at the service.

At the burial of a child, the passages from Lamentations, 1 John, and John 6, together with Psalm 23, are recommended.

It is customary that the celebrant meet the body and go before it into the church or towards the grave.

The anthems at the beginning of the service are sung or said as the body is borne into the church, or during the entrance of the ministers, or by the celebrant standing in the accustomed place.

The Burial of the Dead:
Rite Two

All stand while one or more of the following anthems are sung or said. A hymn, psalm, or some other suitable anthem may be sung instead.

I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord.
Whoever has faith in me shall have life,
even though he die.
And everyone who has life,
and has committed himself to me in faith,
shall not die for ever.

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.

For none of us has life in himself,
and none becomes his own master when he dies.
For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,
and if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, then, whether we live or die,
we are the Lord’s possession.

Happy from now on
are those who die in the Lord!
So it is, says the Spirit,
for they rest from their labors.

Or else this anthem

In the midst of life we are in death;
from whom can we seek help?
From you alone, O Lord,
who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;
shut not your ears to our prayers,
but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,
do not let the pains of death
turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

When all are in place, the Celebrant may address the congregation, acknowledging briefly the purpose of their gathering, and bidding their prayers for the deceased and the bereaved.

The Celebrant then says

The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.

Silence may be kept; after which the Celebrant says one of the following Collects

At the Burial of an Adult

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that your servant N., being raised with him, may know the strength of his presence, and rejoice in his eternal glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

or this

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of your servant N., and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

or this

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother (sister) N.  We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn.  Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

At the Burial of a Child

O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust N. to your never‑ failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

The Celebrant may add the following prayer

Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with NN. in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The people sit.

One or more of the following passages from Holy Scripture is read. If there is to be a Communion, a passage from the Gospel always concludes the Readings.

The Liturgy of the Word

From the Old Testament

Isaiah 25:6‑9 (He will swallow up death for ever)
Isaiah 61:1‑3 (To comfort those who mourn)
Lamentations 3:22‑26,31‑33 (The Lord is good to those who wait for him)
Wisdom 3:1‑5, 9 (The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God)
Job 19:21‑27a (I know that my Redeemer lives)

A suitable psalm, hymn, or canticle may follow.  The following Psalms are appropriate: 42:1‑7, 46, 90:1‑12, 121, 130, 139:1‑11.

From the New Testament

Romans 8:14‑19,34‑35,37‑39    (The glory that shall be revealed)
1 Corinthians 15:20‑26,35‑38,42‑44,53‑58    (The imperishable body)
2 Corinthians 4:16‑‑5:9    (Things that are unseen are eternal)
1 John 3:1‑2    (We shall be like him)
Revelation 7:9‑17    (God will wipe away every tear)
Revelation 21:2‑7    (Behold, I make all things new)

A suitable psalm, hymn, or canticle may follow. The following Psalms are appropriate: 23, 27, 106:1‑5, 116.

The Gospel

Then, all standing, the Deacon or Minister appointed reads the Gospel, first saying

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.

John 5:24‑27    (He who believes has everlasting life)
John 6:37‑40    (All that the Father gives me will come to me)
John 10:11‑16    (I am the good shepherd)
John 11:21‑27    (I am the resurrection and the life)
John 14:1‑6    (In my Father’s house are many rooms)

At the end of the Gospel, the Reader says

The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Here there may be a homily by the Celebrant, or a member of the family, or a friend.

The Apostles’ Creed may then be said, all standing. The Celebrant may introduce the Creed with these or similar words

In the assurance of eternal life given at Baptism, let us proclaim our faith and say,

Celebrant and People

I believe in God, the Father almighty,    
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.    
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit         
and born of the Virgin Mary.    
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,        
was crucified, died, and was buried.    
He descended to the dead.    
On the third day he rose again.    
He ascended into heaven,        
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.    
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,    
the holy catholic Church,    
the communion of saints,    
the forgiveness of sins,    
the resurrection of the body,    
and the life everlasting.  Amen.

If there is not to be a Communion, the Lord’s Prayer is said here, and the service continues with the Prayers of the People, or with one or more suitable prayers (see pages 503‑505).

When there is a Communion, the following form of the Prayers of the People is used, or else the form on page 465 or 480.

For our brother (sister) N., let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I am Resurrection and I am Life.”

Lord, you consoled Martha and Mary in their distress; draw near to us who mourn for N., and dry the tears of those who weep.
Hear us, Lord.

You wept at the grave of Lazarus, your friend; comfort us in our sorrow.
Hear us, Lord.

You raised the dead to life; give to our brother (sister) eternal life.
Hear us, Lord.

You promised paradise to the thief who repented; bring our brother (sister) to the joys of heaven.
Hear us, Lord.

Our brother (sister) was washed in Baptism and anointed with the Holy Spirit; give him fellowship with all your saints.
Hear us, Lord.

He was nourished with your Body and Blood; grant him a place at the table in your heavenly kingdom.
Hear us, Lord.

Comfort us in our sorrows at the death of our brother (sister); let our faith be our consolation, and eternal life our hope.

Silence may be kept.

The Celebrant concludes with one of the following or some other prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to you our brother (sister) N., who was reborn by water and the Spirit in Holy Baptism. Grant that his death may recall to us your victory over death, and be an occasion for us to renew our trust in your Father’s love. Give us, we pray, the faith to follow where you have led the way; and where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages.  Amen.

or this

Father of all, we pray to you for N., and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest.  Let light perpetual shine upon them. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

When there is no Communion, the service continues with the Commendation, or with the Committal.

At the Eucharist.

The service continues with the Peace and the Offertory.

Preface of the Commemoration of the Dead

In place of the usual postcommunion prayer, the following is said

Almighty God, we thank you that in your great love you have fed us with the spiritual food and drink of the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ, and have given us a foretaste of your heavenly banquet. Grant that this Sacrament may be to us a comfort in affliction, and a pledge of our inheritance in that kingdom where there is no death, neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of joy with all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

If the body is not present, the service continues with the [blessing and] dismissal.

Unless the Committal follows immediately in the church, the following Commendation is used.

The Commendation

The Celebrant and other ministers take their places at the body.

This anthem, or some other suitable anthem, or a hymn, may be sung or said

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant(s) with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we return.  For so did you ordain when you created me, saying, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant(s) with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

The Celebrant, facing the body, says

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant N. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.  Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.  Amen.

The Celebrant, or the Bishop if present, may then bless the people, and a Deacon or other Minister may dismiss them, saying

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

As the body is borne from the church, a hymn, or one or more of these anthems may be sung or said

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and giving life to those in the tomb.

The Sun of Righteousness is gloriously risen, giving light to those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The Lord will guide our feet into the way of peace, having taken away the sin of the world.

Christ will open the kingdom of heaven to all who believe in his Name, saying, Come, O blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you.

Into paradise may the angels lead you.  At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

or one of these Canticles,

The Song of Zechariah, Benedictus
The Song of Simeon, Nunc dimittis
Christ our Passover, Pascha nostrum

The Committal

The following anthem or one of those on pages 491‑492 is sung or said

Everyone the Father gives to me will come to me;
I will never turn away anyone who believes in me.

He who raised Jesus Christ from the dead
will also give new life to our mortal bodies
through his indwelling Spirit.

My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.

You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Then, while earth is cast upon the coffin, the Celebrant says these words

In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother N., and we commit his body to the ground;[2] earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious to him, the Lord lift up his countenance upon him and give him peace.  Amen.

^ Or the deep, or the elements, or its resting place.

The Celebrant says

The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.

Celebrant and People

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,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

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.

Other prayers may be added.

Then may be said

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

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

The Celebrant dismisses the people with these words

Alleluia.  Christ is risen.
People The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia.
Celebrant Let us go forth in the name of Christ.
People Thanks be to God.

or with the following

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant: Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Consecration of a Grave

If the grave is in a place that has not previously been set apart for Christian burial, the Priest may use the following prayer, either before the service of Committal or at some other convenient time

O God, whose blessed Son was laid in a sepulcher in the garden: Bless, we pray, this grave, and grant that he whose body is (is to be) buried here may dwell with Christ in paradise, and may come to your heavenly kingdom; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Additional Prayers

Almighty God, with whom still live the spirits of those who die in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity: We give you heartfelt thanks for the good examples of all your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now find rest and refreshment.  May we, with all who have died in the true faith of your holy Name, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; that, when we shall have served you in our generation, we may be gathered to our ancestors, having the testimony of a good conscience, in the communion of the Catholic Church, in the confidence of a certain faith, in the comfort of a religious and holy hope, in favor with you, our God, and in perfect charity with the world.  All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

O God, the King of saints, we praise and glorify your holy Name for all your servants who have finished their course in your faith and fear: for the blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all your other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we pray that, encouraged by their examples, aided by their prayers, and strengthened by their fellowship, we also may be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, by your death you took away the sting of death:  Grant to us your servants so to follow in faith where you have led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in you and wake up in your likeness; for your tender mercies’ sake.  Amen.

Father of all, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer: Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and, in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life: Raise us, we humbly pray, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; that when we depart this life we may rest in him, and at the resurrection receive that blessing which your well‑beloved Son shall then pronounce: “Come, you blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” Grant this, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer.  Amen.

Grant, O Lord, to all who are bereaved the spirit of faith and courage, that they may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastness and patience; not sorrowing as those without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great goodness, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love.  And this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all their care on you, they may know the consolation of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.