13 Anglican Funeral Readings for a Loved One

Updated

Choosing and delivering a funeral reading can seem to be an overwhelming responsibility. That does not need to be the case. If the deceased and most of the mourners in attendance at their funeral practice a certain religion, you could choose a reading that reflects their religious values and traditions.

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Perhaps you have the duty of delivering a funeral reading for someone who was a devout member of the Anglican Communion (which you may know better as the Anglican church). You have many options from which to choose when seeking an appropriate Anglican funeral reading if so.

This guide will offer some noteworthy suggestions. Keep reading to find the right Anglican funeral reading for your needs. Additionally, our guide on funeral scriptures might also prove to be a useful resource.

Anglican Funeral Readings for a Parent or Grandparent

Regardless of your age, losing the stability a parent or grandparent may provide is an immense blow. These Anglican funeral readings suggest that faith can help one make meaning out of such an experience:

1. “Lamentations 3:22–26, 31–33” from the King James Bible

This Bible verse can serve two purposes at the funeral of a parent. It can tell those in mourning that if they remain faithful even in the face of pain, their reward will be eternal peace in God’s kingdom.

It may also remind them that if their parents or grandparents faced difficulties and challenges in their lives, as long as they were faithful, they are now enjoying the comforts of Heaven. This may be particularly comforting to someone who watched a parent or grandparent suffer through a long illness before passing away.

2. “Ecclesiastes 3:1–8” from the King James Bible

This is among the most well-known Bible verses about death. It remarks that “For everything there is a season,” explaining that nothing is permanent.

It’s a particularly worthy verse to read after the death of a grandparent. The verse reminds us that death is a natural part of life. As one generation passes away, another will inevitably come to take its place, and the cycle will continue.

3. “Psalm 90:1–12” from the King James Bible

This psalm is another option to consider when choosing a grandparent’s funeral reading. It directly comments on the fact that if we are lucky, we may live as many as 80 years.

We may face trouble and pain during those years. However, as the psalm remarks, all that time is nothing in comparison to the eternity of peace we may experience after we pass.

4. “John 14:1–6” from the King James Bible

This is yet another popular funeral reading. Its most recognizable line is “In my Father’s house there are many rooms.” The reading makes reference to a Father multiple times throughout its entirety.

Technically, the Father in question is God. However, if someone has recently lost a father, a Bible verse that consistently mentions a paternal figure could add a personal touch to what is otherwise a fairly typical Biblical commentary on death and the idea that God has reserved a space for the faithful in Heaven. The verse also offers comfort by affirming that those who are still living will one day see their lost loved ones when their time comes.

Anglican Funeral Readings for a Sibling

Siblings can be among our closest companions. They often know us in a way few others ever possibly could. While coping with the loss of a sibling will take time, someone of faith may find some strength and hope with the help of such readings as:

5. “John 11:21–27” from the King James Bible

This may be the perfect Bible verse to read at the funeral of a deceased brother. It describes a woman saying to Jesus that if the Lord had been present at the time of her brother’s death, her brother would still be alive. Jesus comforts her by assuring her that her brother will live again by ascending to Heaven.

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6. “Holy Sonnet X” by John Donne

A proper Anglican funeral reading does not necessarily need to be a Bible verse or psalm. Certain funeral poems can also make for perfect choices.

“Holy Sonnet X” (which some know better as “Death be not proud”) by John Donne is a funeral poem that Anglicans generally consider to be an appropriate funeral reading. It explains that, as fearsome as death may seem, death is powerless over the eternal salvation that God offers His followers. Death may have seemed to take a sibling away, but according to this poem, that is only an illusion.

Anglican Funeral Readings for a Spouse or Partner

The love of a partner or spouse is among the most personal and sacred experiences and emotions one can have. Losing that feeling because your partner or spouse died will inevitably cause sorrow. Whether you’re delivering a reading at your own partner’s funeral or you’re trying to offer support to a friend or loved one who recently lost a partner, consider turning to comfort with one of these Anglican funeral readings:

7. “Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep” by Mary Frye

This poem does not explicitly mention any type of romantic love. That said, many have found that it seems to be a fitting funeral reading for someone who has lost a spouse or partner.

The speaker of the poem is one who has passed away and is now advising an unnamed loved one who has been left behind not to waste their time mourning at their grave. The poem’s speaker wishes to assure their loved one that, although they may not seem to be with them in the mortal world any longer, they did not truly die. This suggests they will reunite in Heaven (or some equivalent of Heaven) one day in the future. This is certainly an idea a person would like to believe in after losing their beloved.

8. “Revelation 21:2–7” from the King James Bible

Like many Bible verses that can serve as Anglican funeral readings, this one suggests that our mortal life is merely part of our existence, as we will one day spend eternity in Heaven. What makes this verse a strong choice after the death of a spouse is the description of “the new Jerusalem” appearing “as a bride adorned for her husband.” This description of Heaven resembling a beautiful spouse may bring some peace to the heart of one who has recently lost a spouse.

Anglican Funeral Readings for a Child

The death of a child is a tragic and seemingly nonsensical event. However, as these readings suggest, even in such a dark hour, it may be possible to believe that God has a plan we simply can’t yet see:

9. “Psalm 46” from the King James Bible

Any loss can devastate those close to the deceased. However, a child’s death is particularly painful. Such a loss may even have the power to jeopardize one’s faith.

Psalm 46 acknowledges that in life we may face times of seemingly unbearable sorrow and fear. It encourages listeners to remember that God is a permanent and immovable source of strength. If we remain faithful, we can overcome any difficulty. This is a message that may offer some comfort to parents after the loss of a beloved child.

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10. “Early Death” by Hartley Coleridge

“Early Death” is another poem that may also serve as an Anglican funeral reading. It describes a child whose time here was brief while offering comfort by reassuring the reader that a child who passed away with the love of God is actually in a happier place, even if those left behind can’t yet feel the peace the child now feels.

Anglican Funeral Readings for a Friend

The loss of a friend can be just as painful as the loss of a family member. While nothing can replace a friend and the role they played in your life, the following readings may give both you and the other mourners in attendance some strength to move on with faith:

11. “Isaiah 25:6–9” from the King James Bible

This verse from the King James Bible is a general commentary on death that can apply to anyone. Because it is so general and is not specific to the death of any one particular individual, it may be an ideal Anglican funeral reading for a friend. The verse explains that one day the Lord will “swallow up death forever,” wiping away the tears of every true follower of God.

12. “Psalm 23” from the King James Bible

Psalm 23 is likely the most well-known funeral psalm in the Anglican church. It begins “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Even those who are not members of the Anglican church are likely familiar with this psalm. It is certainly an option to consider when choosing a friend’s funeral reading if you are struggling to find something more obscure. Remember, when delivering a funeral reading, showing respect is what matters most. A funeral reading does not need to be obscure to serve its purpose.

13. “Revelation 7:9–17” from the King James Bible

When delivering an Anglican funeral reading for a friend, it may occur to you that the various mourners likely have had different types of relationships with the deceased. To you, the deceased was a friend.

To others, the deceased may have been a child, sibling, parent, grandparent, etc. You might thus want to choose a funeral reading that can offer peace to all in attendance.

This is an option to consider if so. It explains how all followers of God will receive salvation and that God will wipe away their tears. This can remind all in attendance that, while they might not all know each other personally and they may not all have had the same relationship with the deceased, they currently share in both the same pain and the same faith. This can remind everyone in attendance that supporting each other is key to moving on after a tragic passing.

Finding Peace in Faith

If you have been struggling to find the right Anglican reading for an upcoming funeral, hopefully this guide has given you some ideas. For more information on Christian funerals in general, check out our guide on Christian funeral traditions.

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