Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Preface to: A Living Hope

Suggestions for Funeral Services 
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1932)
By Jesse Halsey
In Loving Memory of 
Wilmun H. Halsey
“The Little Levite”

O give me Samuel’s mind
A sweet unmurmuring faith,
Obedient and resigned
To Thee in life and death,
That I may read with childlike eyes
Truths that are hidden from the wise.
--James D. Burns, Evening Hymns

The ministry of consolation makes large demands upon one’s reserves. Collected from many sources, these pages are offered by way of suggestion and guidance in the enrichment of the ministry.

Brevity without haste is to be desired; dignity without coldness; sympathy without sentimentalism. A Christian hope and faith should pervade all.

It is hoped that this material will be amplified by the brotherhood. The publisher or the compiler will be glad to receive contributions of helpful selections for use in future editions.

The funeral address is being less often used. The prose selections and the poems are offered in hope that they may supply the personal tough that was present, though often overdone, in the old type of funeral “sermon.”

[A decided trend in non-liturgical circles [is] to make the funeral service more simple and more stately, and in liturgical circles to add warmth.

The purpose of this book is to furnish material suitable for all occasions and in line with the present tendency. The funeral sermon or address is disappearing; some bit of appropriate prose from a worthy source, or some lovely poem may well take its place. A short but telling reference to the life and character of the departed is appreciated, whereas a long extempore eulogy is often out of place and offensive.]

The form is loose leaf, so that arrangement of the material selected for use on a given occasion may be assembled in consecutive order, thus avoiding fumbling of pages.

Many blank pages are left in each section. Obviously, as many as are desired can be added by the owner. Room is left in the General Index for growth of the book in the owner’s hands. Its usefulness will depend on the extent to which it is rearranged and added to by the user. There is no completely arranged service in the book, but there is material for many of the emergencies that a pastor is called upon to meet.

[Three of the services as used by the editor are available in print and may be given to the bereaved family with such additions as the minister may make.]

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