The Influential and Famous, and All of Us: Funeral Planning Template

Today the world morns the death of former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa who passed away yesterday after years of declining health. His death was not a surprise. Earlier in the week a famous Hollywood star was killed instantly when the car in which he was a passenger crashed. He made a living and became famous driving fast cars. His death was surprising, even ironic. When famous individuals pass on the world takes note—but people die everyday. Common people, and one day you and me.

Near the time Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses, he wrote a sermon on preparing to die (A Sermon on Preparing to Die (1519),” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings [ed. Timothy F. Lull; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989], 638-54). Perhaps he knew difficult days were on the horizon! Luther’s first point was that people should get their affairs in order. I am assuming here that the audience of this blog is genuinely converted and I thus want to take Luther’s statement as a point of departure. (Though we all should pause for a moment and evaluate our true state before God). Below I have listed some categories to think about for preparing your funeral. This is one of the most beneficial spiritual activities in all of discipleship. Our passing may be slow and expected or sudden and shocking, but we can all make sure our affairs are in order so that our family can grieve without the haste of funeral preparations.

Viewing Wishes (including open or closed casket)


Memorial Service




Music (including before and after service; special selections/performances, et)


Reading of Obituary


Message (including texts, Christian books or quotes, minister, et.)


Burial Location





Graveside Service Details (including speakers, readings, et)


Post Service Meal


Don't lose any sleep over it! We have a delayed start on Sunday, March 10, 2024

EH/MK 10:30-11:20
Worship: 11:30-1:00