Transition Rituals

A faith-by-faith guide to rites for the deceased

 

Continued from page 2

Lutheran
Belief about death
Many Lutheran groups believe that death goes against what is naturally intended for us by God. It is thought that because of humankind's rebellion against God, death was created as a punishment.

Funeral practices
There is usually a funeral burial service for the dead. The service takes place in a church, but can also be held in a private home, funeral home or crematory, if desired.

Mourning rituals A last viewing before the beginning of the funeral service takes place, after which the funereal coffin is closed. Mourners may also be invited to pray at the burial site, and those nearer to the grave may throw handfuls of earth onto the coffin as it descends into the earth.

More online:
  • What Death Means for the Believer in Christ

    Mormonism
    Belief about death
    Mormons believe that at death, the spirit and the body separate. People go to judgment by God. Death is something to mourn but is also a time of hope because it is seen as a step into the next life and eternal life with God

    Funeral practices
    Funeral services are usually held in an LDS chapel or mortuary. Burial is preferred to cremation because internment in the earth symbolizes the return of dust to dust.

    Mourning rituals
    The gravesite of the deceased is viewed as a sacred spot for the family to visit and tend.

    More online:
  • Death, Dying and Mormonism
  • Mormon Burial Practices

    Pagan
    Beliefs about death
    Pagans believe that physical death is not the end of life. The dead become unborn, and enter into a state where they may find temporary rest, after which healing and renewing energy for rebirth into a new life occur.

    Funeral practices
    Believers in the pagan goddess traditions wash the dead body with a mixture consisting of spring water, a few drops of ocean water (or water from another special place), scented oil, and the herb rosemary for purity and protection. While washing, a special blessing is usually said. Then, the body is smudged (or censed) with an appropriate incense for the cleansing. Finally, the body is wrapped or dress in simple cloth or clothing.

    Mourning rituals
    Pagans hold funerals and memorial services, during which, special prayers are said to help guide the dead to healing in their afterlife journey to rebirth. Rituals include offerings to nature and the ancestors, invoking spirits, music, chanting, sharing stories and more.

    More online:
  • Pagan Funerals
  • Memorial Service/Rite of Passage
  • Pagan Book of Living and Dying

    Presbyterianism
    Belief about death
    Presbyterian Christians believe that whether the reward of heaven or the punishment of hell, the consequences of life have a bearing on where you end up after death, and they begin immediately after death.

    Funeral practices
    Most funerals take place two to four days after the death. Most services are held in the church sanctuary. Funeral practices vary from person to person. No one form of interment is either encouraged or discouraged among worshippers.

    Mourning rituals
    Worshippers are encouraged to provide the "ministry of presence" to those who have experienced a loss. Whether one calls, writes or visits the bereaved, the act of being present for them is enough.

    More on Beliefnet:
  • Essence of a Protestant Funeral
  • Presbyterian Words of Committal
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