Another Funeral for a Stranger

If there is anything that is difficult in ministry, it’s conducting a funeral service. If there is any kind of funeral service that is more difficult than another for a minister, I’d have to say it would be either a close family member or a child.

However, even though doing the funeral for a friend or loved one may be painful, doing one for a total stranger has its own share of difficulties. That is what I am going to be doing today…again.

  • What would you say to encourage a grieving family as they look at you standing over the casket of their loved one?
  • How do you share in the grief and pain, the loss and sorrow, with a host of people you’ve never even met?

In just a couple of hours I will be standing in a funeral home, beside or above a dead body, looking at a room full of people with tears in their eyes, as they hear me speak about someone intimately familiar, but of whom I know little about.  What would you say?

How would you handle it?

This is how… With love, compassion, and tenderness, as one who has also gone through pain and loss, give them Jesus, because…”If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” – 1 Corinthians 15:19-20

It doesn’t matter who they are, even strangers need hope. Give them Jesus.


If you would like to hear the sermon that I preached (with private details removed), just click on the link below. You may find it interesting, instructional, and inspirational. 

If you are a minister, please note several things. First, I did not use a rigid outline. Secondly, I incorporated things going on in the “here and now.” Third, since I was not able to relate to the family through familiarity with the deceased, I related to the family by tapping into the shared experience of personal sorrow and loss (empathy). Fourth, I primarily focused on the Truth of the Word of God, our only source of eternal hope and comfort.

Easter sunrise 2015

Funeral Sermon for a Man I Didn’t Know


Filed under Faith, Life/Death, Preaching

7 responses to “Another Funeral for a Stranger

  1. Trisha

    Yes brother, presenting Jesus is the best. Thank you for your blog. We are in the beginning stages of recovering from legalism. And growing in Grace

  2. ColorStorm

    Indeed difficult, but imagine the heart of the Lord when he was considered as having ‘no reputation,’ a homeless stranger as it were.

    You will do well pilgrim. God bless.

  3. Anonymous

    Well said and I do understand. I also like to give them hope in Jesus Christ aka sharing the Gospel keep up the good work as I am praying for you!

  4. Garrett R.

    Amen, brother. I am praying for you! I officiated my first funeral last Tuesday. It was my grandfather’s funeral and probably the toughest thing emotionally I have ever had to do. He is with the Lord now, which makes me joyful!

  5. To those of you who prayed, thank you; I appreciated it. If you would like to hear what prayed for, I updated the post and included a link. The whole sermon is less than 13 minutes long.

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