Reflections Worship

Light, Hope and Remembrance 2020

A Service of Light, Hope and Remembrance, with Revd Stephen Buckman and Revd Aron Donaldson

Welcome and Introduction

‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ says the Lord.
‘Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,
and everyone who live and believes in me will never die.’

I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor anything in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish
but may have eternal life.

The grace, mercy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

We meet in the presence of God
who knows our needs,
hears our cries,
feels our pain,
and heals our wounds.


Heavenly Father,
you have not made us for darkness and death
but for life with you for ever.
Without you we have nothing to hope for;
with you we have nothing to fear.
Speak to us now your words of eternal life.
Lift us from anxiety and guilt
to the light and peace of your presence,
and set the glory of your love before us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading: John 11:17-27

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’

This is the word of the Lord.


We are living through strange and challenging times.

Covid 19 is preventing us from being able to gather in God’s house and seek consolation as we remember those who we once held dear in this world, but who now rest in God’s nearer presence.

At a funeral service we gather to remember the lives of the loved one we have lost, and we also celebrate that life.

To remember and celebrate a life is to embark upon an emotional journey during which we celebrate, give thanks, mourn and, sometimes, feel a sense of ‘relief’ that a long period of suffering has come to a close.

Wherever we find ourselves on the emotional roller coaster of remembering and celebrating, it is important that we should cling on to God’s great message of hope.

God’s love and power extends over the whole of creation, and every single life is precious to God.

Since that great moment in human history, the moment of Jesus’ resurrection some two thousand years ago, it has been the Christian belief that there is hope in death, just as there is hope in life.

Firmly seated at the heart of the Christian faith is the belief that there is new life in Christ after death in this world.

During this service, just as during a funeral service, powerful emotions will be rising to the surface, and it is right that that should be happening.

This is a time to remember and, perhaps, to smile.
This is a time to celebrate and, perhaps, to laugh.
This is a time to mourn and, perhaps, to cry.

All human emotion is on display when we remember our lost loved ones.

It is important that we should give ourselves permission to look for peace and reconciliation with our memories as we take the path of emotional turmoil.

Jesus gives us a model for this …

When Jesus heard of the death of his dear friend, Lazarus, like us, he wept. Jesus showed his sense of grief by weeping.

But, of course, Jesus did not allow himself to stay in that dark place. As Jesus rejoiced in the resurrection of Lazarus, so he wants us to rejoice in the certainty of the resurrection of those loved ones we no longer see in this world.

If we can find it in ourselves to follow Jesus he will lead us through our sorrow, he will reveal to us that wonderful place where he now dwells in light, in love and in resurrection glory.

And that ‘heaven’, as we call it, is the home that Jesus has prepared for all whose earthly pilgrimage has come to an end.

Whether we are living through the darkest of nights, and whether we are shedding the bitterest of tears, there is light, love and joy awaiting us all.

So … as we remember, celebrate and mourn in this short act of remembrance, let us also rejoice in the joy of the resurrection …
a joy that was won for each and every one of us through the earthly tragedy of the cross.

A tragedy that was also the ultimate symbol of God’s love and hope for the whole of humanity.


The Act of Remembrance

As the candles are lit you are invited to remember, celebrate and mourn
those whom you loved in this world but who now rest in God’s nearer presence.

You may want to say a prayer for that loved one,
or you may want to sit in silence.

You may want to recall the times that made you smile,
or you may want to recall the times when you felt closest to them.

However you may want to use this time, I invite you to seek the consolation and comfort of the God who is for ever with us, the God who already knows our needs and our sorrows, the God who gave his Son that we might come to experience the joy of everlasting life.


Let us now turn to God in prayer.

God of mercy, Lord of life,
you have made us in your image
to reflect your truth and light:
we give you thanks for all those we have loved in this world,
for the grace and mercy they received from you,
for all that was good in their lives,
for the memories we treasure today.

God of mercy, Lord of life,
you promised eternal life to those who believe.
Remember for good your servants
who now dwell with you in heaven
as we also remember them.
Bring all who rest in Christ
into the fullness of your kingdom
where sins have been forgiven
and death is no more.

God of mercy, Lord of life,
your mighty power brings joy out of grief
and life out of death.
Look in mercy on all who mourn.
Give them patient faith in times of darkness.
Strengthen them with the knowledge of your love.

God of mercy, Lord of life,
you are tender towards your children
and your mercy is over all your works.
Heal any memories of hurt and failure.
Give us wisdom and grace to use aright
the time that is left to us here on earth,
to turn to Christ and follow in his steps
in the way that leads to everlasting life.

God of mercy,
entrusting into your hands all that you have made
and rejoicing in our communion with all your faithful people,
we make our prayers through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

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


May God give you his comfort and his peace,
his light and his joy, in this world and the next:
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father,  the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and upon those you love today and always.