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Congregation of Unitarian Universalists

Words of Sympathy and Inspiration, Hymns, Readings , Music, Poetry, Ritual, Examples and Ideas

A Memorial Service

Blessed are those who mourn, for they have dared to risk their hearts by giving of their love.

En Español

    Opening Words
      When sorrow comes, let us accept it simply,
      As a part of life.
      Let the heart be open to pain; let it be stretched by it.
      In the desolate hour, there is an outcry;
      A clenching of the hands upon emptiness;
      A burning pain of bereavement;
      A weary ache of loss.
      But anguish, like ecstasy, is not forever.
      There comes a gentleness, a returning quietness,
      A restoring stillness.
      This, too, is a door to life.
      Here is a deepening of meaning,
      An opportunity to reflect and meditate on the importance of loving relationships.
      Our love, our memories will never cease.
      And it can lead to dedication;
      A going forward to the triumph of the soul, The conquering of the wilderness.
      And in the process will come
      A deepening inward knowledge
      That in the final reckoning, all is well.

    Lighting the  Chalice :

      In our time of grief, we light a flame of sharing,
        The flame of ongoing life.
          In this time when we search for understanding
            And serenity in the face of loss,
              We light this sign of our quest
                For truth, meaning, and community.
                  Gathered here in the mystery of the hour.
                    Gathered here in one strong body.
                      Gathered here in the struggle and the power.
                        Spirit, draw near.

    Prayer: (Followed by a moment of silent meditation)

      Let us join now in the Spirit of Thought
      Spirit of Life and also our Companion at the end of life, be with us.
      We are all here now because of our love for Michael Flynn,
      Today we celebrate his life and his spirit.
      Not only who he was, but what his life has meant, and will always mean.
      Grant that each of us may hold on to a shining moment of memory,
      That we may carry it in our hearts, as a candle, a companion in our darkness and our sadness.
      We have come to remember Michael Flynn as he was long ago, and as he was just a few months ago.
      I hope you will share in my belief that even in times of sadness, there is room for laughter.
      Some people try to tie themselves to joy and in doing so bind it more tightly than a prison.
      But as William Blake once said
      "He was one who lightly kissed joy as it flew, and lived in eternity's sunrise."
      May we all remember that the very special joy, that comes from loving and the memories of a strong friendship, remains with us.
      For it is through each of us that his memory stays alive, that what he stood for, what he said will be carried forth.
      May we all remember well his smiles, his companionship, his witty conversations, his life.
      So Be it, Blessed be.

    Hymn:   (STLT) # 6

      1. Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, "Yes" to life;
        though with pain I make my way, still with hope I meet each day.
          If they ask what I did well, tell them I said "Yes" to life.
      2. Just as long as vision lasts, I must answer "Yes" to truth;
        in my dream and in my dark always: that elusive spark
          If they ask what I did well tell them I said "Yes"to truth.
      3.Just as long as my heart beats, I must answer "Yes" to love;
        Disappointment pierced me through,still I kept on loving you.
          If they ask what I did best, tell them I said , "yes" to love

      First Reading:   From the Old Testament of the Bible    Ecclesiastes III   3:1-3:8 ( adapted)

      To everything there is a season,
      A time for everything under the sun
      A time to be born and a time to die
      A time to laugh and a time to cry
      A time to dance and a time to mourn
      A time to seek and a time to let go.
      This is the time we remember
      One who gave meaning to our lives.
      This is the time we remember the bonds that tied us together,
      The love that we shared,
      And the memories that remain with us still.


      Please join hands while sitting together and for a few moments, experience the love, support, and common purpose you share in this place, with these people.
      Members of the family will read the following words while holding each of the elements provided on the table.
        (Hold up the bowl of soil.)
        Earth cure me.
          Earth receive my woe.
        (Hold up the Stone.)
        Rock strengthen me.
          Rock receive my weakness.
        (Hold up the bowl of water.)
        Rain wash my sadness away.
          Rain receive my doubt.
        (Hold up the chalice.)
        Sun make sweet my song.
          Sun receive the anger from my heart.
        In this time of sorrow, we remember that our lives, and our deaths, are interwoven with the basic elements of our world. They are part of the cycle of nature.
      You are invited to briefly share a personal reflection a favorite memory, a quality you will miss, or any other aspect of his life or your relationship that is in your heart right now

    Hymn:    Dona Nobis Pacem     [Grant us Peace]

      Dona nobis pacem, pacem,

        Dona nobis pacem.
          Dona nobis pacem.
            Dona nobis pacem.
              Dona nobis pacern.
                Dona nobis pacem.
    Extinguish the Chalice:
      We extinguish the flaming chalice to mark Michael Flynn's physical death, yet the memories of his very special character and gifts live in our lives. His beautiful spirit is indomitable.

    Candle of Remembrance and Compassion:

    We now light a candle to symbolize his influence, which endures. From this candle we light this chalice again to invoke the spirit of compassion.

      We hold in our hearts all those who have died.
        We hold in our hearts all those who grieve the loss of loved ones, friends, colleagues of many years.
          We hold in our hearts all those whose lives have been torn by grief.
            We invoke the spirit of compassion.
              In mystery we are born, in mystery we live and in mystery we die.
                If we remember and are remembered, as Michael will be
                  Life endures, meaning reigns, hope perseveres.
      As the poet Mary Oliver has said " To live in this world you must be able to do three things:
        To love what is mortal;
          to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
            And, when the time comes
              to let it go,
                to let it go. "
    Final Words:
      And when life's sweet story ends,
        Soul and Body part as friends,
          No quarrels, murmurs, no delay;
            A kiss, a sigh and so away.          Richard Crenshaw 1612-1649

    Hymn and Closing Circle of Hands:      Go Now in Peace