Sample Jewish or Christian Memorial/Funeral Service
(Inspired in part from services by Chaplain of the Pets Founder, Reverend Sandra M. Shaw. Appropriate music can be played before and after, as well as during the procession.)
We gather here together to honor the beloved memory of _______________ who has recently passed. ___________ was a much loved member of the _________ family, and he/she will be missed greatly.
Today, we honor ________ ‘s beautiful loving spirit, kind eyes, (once) playful demeanor, and unconditional love.
Like an angel, __________’s presence calmed his/her family, soothed them at the end of a long day, and made them feel loved when they needed it most. As we say good-bye to this wonderful dog/cat/horse/etc., we are thankful for the gift we have received of having been a part of his/her life, as well.
To Every Thing There is a Season Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father / Creative Spirit / Source of Peace (choose one), We thank-you for the opportunity to have known __________ in our lifetime. We thank-you for the gift of his/her friendship, and for what he/she has taught us about loving others. Because we are humans and not perfect, we ask for forgiveness if there was ever a time when ____________’s needs were misunderstood or not attended too quickly enough. ______________ was deeply loved by his/her human family, and we know ______________ deeply loved them as well.
Heavenly Spirit, we ask that you watch over _____________ and forever keep him/her in your loving arms, until his family can be there to care for him/her again. Until then, we ask that the special memories of this beloved pet be blessed forever and ever.
Let us say, Amen.
I want to thank-you for inviting me to honor the life of your beloved animal friend, ______________, today. As all of us here know, an animal can be a very special member of a family. Although I did not know _____________, I feel as if I had known him/her by the loving accounts I have heard about ____________ from his/her family (and from the photos his/her family has shared with me). It is obvious how deeply loved _______________ was, and he/she will never be forgotten.
There is nothing else in life like the relationship we have with our animal friends. Animals are great listeners. They seem to be able to understand what we are saying when we talk to them, and they don’t argue back. They don’t judge us, and they don’t hold a grudge.
I believe we share our lives with animals to learn what they can teach us:
o to love unconditionally,
o to care about others rather than our possessions,
o to remember to be playful in life,
o to remember to snuggle with those we love,
o to observe the world around us with curiosity and enthusiasm,
o to wake up knowing that each day is a new adventure,
o to remind us to take a walk and enjoy the sunshine from time to time,
o to trust that the world will provide everything we need,
o and to remind us, “Don’t worry. Be happy”.
As we mourn the loss of ___________________, who was a very special and much-loved friend, we are thankful for these important lessons he/she taught us about life.
Now is the time in our service when I ask _____________’s family and friends to share a favorite memory of ________________. Who would like to begin?
Procession or Honoring Remains
(Begin music – If there is a casket or an urn of ashes, each attendant can approach it and place a flower on it or near it, to pay their respects. If there are just a few people, have a silent meditation until the music stops.)
Prayer – Adapted from “Prayer for Those Who Mourn”
(from the Chaplain of the Pets Founder, Reverend Sandra M. Shaw)
Give me the grace to mourn with dignity.
Give me the grace to mourn in peace.
Give me the grace to mourn without shame and embarrassment.
Give me the grace to mourn fully so that my heart will be healed.
Give me the grace to mourn out loud and cry until my crying is done.
Give me the grace to mourn the loss of the one I loved,
And to understand others when they must face a similar road.
Give me the grace to mourn with patience
And to be tolerant of my own need
to move through this at my own pace.
Give me the grace to accept that I am in mourning
And to be at peace with that while my heart mends.
I pray that my time of mourning
will be made easier through my understanding
that mourning is good for my heart.
May mine be a good mourning,
one that cleanses my heart,
and renews my spirit.
May my memories of my beloved _________
be for a blessing,
so that I may love be ready to love again.
(Appropriate for Christian and Jewish services. Other readings can be substituted.)
Let us be comforted in our grief by remembering the words of Psalm 23:
Psalm 23 (New International Version)
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
(For a Jewish funeral, insert the mourners Kaddish here.)
We are reminded that our bodies return to the earth,
while our spirits are set free to reunite with the Creator.
As we say good-bye to our beloved ______________,
we express our deepest gratitude for the blessing of his/her sweet presence.
Through __________, we learned compassion.
Through __________, we learned patience.
Through ___________, we experienced joy.
Through ___________, we learned to think about someone else other than ourselves,
and learned to be both giving and forgiving.
Through __________, we learned about friendship and loyalty.
Through ______________, we learned about innocence, humility and forgiveness.
Through this beloved animal, we were shown the best qualities of humankind,
and found that the highest virtue of all
is kindness to others.
Through our beloved _______________,
we were shown the greatest gift of all,
the gift of unconditional love.
As we go forth from this day,
may these important lessons be within our hearts,
and upon our lips.
May we remember to share them with others.
In sharing them, we will truly honor the memory of ______________,
and keep his spirit in our lives.
As you leave, we read from:
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.”