This memorial service is conducted by students of The Rosicrucian Teachings, and is offered as a guideline to be adapted to meet your personal needs.
Organ or Piano Voluntary.
Reader: Friends, we shall open our memorial service for our departed friend ....... by singing the third verse of the song "Nearer my God to Thee."
"There let the way appear
Steps unto heav'n;
All that Thou sendest me
In mercy giv'n;
Angels to beckon me,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!"
Unveil the Rose Cross Emblem while the song is sung.
Reader gives the Rosicrucian Greeting:
"My dear Sisters and Brothers, may the Roses bloom upon your Cross."
Response by the Congregation: "And upon yours also."
Reader: Let us now devote a few moments to silent meditation upon thoughts of Love, Peace and Tranquility.
Meditation closed with music, while the curtain is drawn in front of the Emblem.
Reader: We turn to the Holy Bible, the Gospel according to St. John:
"I am the resurrection, and the Life," said Christ Jesus, "he that believeth in me, tho' he were dead, yet shall he live" And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
In these and other passages from the Gospels did Christ Jesus assure us of the immortality of the Spirit, of life eternal. He also assured us that we would some day do all the wonderful things He did, and even greater things would we do. On our long journey to this high state of consciousness, we come again and again into Earth life in gradually improving bodies to learn the lessons necessary for the fulfillment of potentials conferred upon an individual Spirit made in the spiritual image of God.
At one time or another, after a short or a long life, comes the termination to the material phase of our existence, which began with our physical birth. Birth is, in the words of William Wordsworth, a forgetting of the past. He says:
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid,
Is on his way attended:
At Length the man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day."
The Rosicrucian Teachings, in full accord with these sentiments, tell us that death of the physical body is not the end; it is but a change in residence for the immortal Spirit. They also tell us how, under the Law of Cause and Effect, the fruit of our actions in each life, whether good or bad, will at some future time be harvested. The Bible states clearly: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It is as impossible to cancel our good or evil deeds by passing out of the body as it is to pay our debts by moving to another city. A debt incurred still remains, and sometime, somewhere, it must be liquidated. Similarly, noble spiritual attributes and strength of character remain with those whose lives are spent in helpful service to others, and these spiritual talents may be used immediately serving in the vineyard of Christ.
It is a custom to rejoice when an Ego is born, encased in a robe of clay; and to weep when the form is cast off at death. But is this conduct not the exact reverse of what it could be? The Spirit is imprisoned in a physical vesture at its birth into the material world, to be subjected for a few or for many years to the pains, aches, and infirmities to which all flesh is heir. This physical life is necessary that the Spirit may learn its lessons in the School of Life.
The Rosicrucian Teachings also encourage us to develop a soft and humble heart. As Christ Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus before He raised him from the dead, so can we also recognize the grief we experience when we are separated from a friend. This separation, first experienced when we fell from the Garden of Eden, has made it necessary for all of us to repeatedly experience birth, death and separation until we once again unite with our spiritual source.
Therefore, we can rejoice when the Spirit is liberated from the pain and discomfort of physical existence and passes on to a higher step toward the expanding and perfecting of its inherent attributes, and also recognize the separation we must all experience until we once again realize our own spiritual nature. Let us think of this occasion as an opportunity to unite our loving thoughts and prayers in joyfully aiding our friend in (his/her) adjustment to (his/her) new environment.
The friend we knew as .............. has transferred (his/her) activities to another plane of existence, and although we shall miss (his/her) presence here among us, we are comforted in knowing that (he/she) is being assisted in (his/her) transition by those radiant, loving Beings on the higher planes whose pleasure it is to serve in this way.
(Short talk here on the qualities and past activities of the departed person.)
As a child goes to school day after day for the purpose of gaining knowledge, with nights to rest between the school days, meanwhile growing a body from childhood to the full stature of manhood or womanhood, so also the Spirit attends the School of Life during a succession of life-days, and inhabits a series of earthly forms of gradually improving texture in which to gain experience.
Oliver Wendell Holmes has expressed it in the well-known lines:
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low — vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
We know that our friend will come back sometime, somewhere, in a nobler body than the garment which (he/she) has just discarded. We know that under the immutable Law of Cause and Effect (he/she) must return so that by repeated lives and experiences (his/her) love nature may be widened and deepened into the glory of its fullest capacity.
Death has lost its sting so far as we are concerned, not because we are indifferent and love our friends less, but because we are convinced that there is no death.
There is no death. The stars go down
To rise upon another shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine forevermore.
There is no death. The forest leaves
Convert to life the viewless air;
The rocks disorganize to feed
The hungry moss they bear.
There is no death. The dust we tread
Shall change beneath the summer showers
To golden grain or mellow fruit,
Or rainbow tinted flowers.
There is no death. The leaves may fall
The flowers may fade and pass away —
They only wait through wintry hours
The warm, sweet breath of May.
There is no death, although we grieve
When beautiful familiar forms
That we have learned to love are torn
From our embracing arms.
Although with bowed and breaking heart,
With sable garb and silent tread,
We bear their senseless dust to rest,
And say that they are dead —
They are not dead. They have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here,
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.
They have but dropped their robe of clay
To put a shining raiment on;
They have not wandered far away
They are not "lost" or "gone".
Through unseen to the mortal eye,
They still are here and love us yet;
The dear ones they have left behind
They never do forget.
Sometimes upon our fevered brow
We feel their touch, a breath of balm:
Our spirit sees them, and our hearts
Grow comforted and calm.
Yes, ever near us, though unseen,
Our dear, immortal spirits tread —
For all God's boundless Universe
Is Life — there are no dead.
(By John McCreery)
We have no cause for grief just because the silver cord has been loosed and the body is about to return to its original elements, for we know that the Spirit of our friend is more alive than when embodied, is present with us now, though unseen by most of us. The poet Arnold puts it in these inspiring words:
"Never the Spirit was born!
The Spirit shall cease to be never!
Never was time it was not;
End and beginning are dreams.
Birthless and deathless remaineth the Spirit forever;
Death has not touched it at all,
Dead tho the house of it seems.
"Nay! But as one layeth
A worn out robe away.
And taking another, sayeth,
This will I wear today,
So putteth by the Spirit
Lightly its garment of flesh
And passeth on to inherit
A residence afresh."
Let us now join in a silent prayer asking God's blessings on our departed (Brother/sister) as (he/she) takes up (his/her) new work in the higher worlds. Amen.
And now let us close our memorial service by standing as we sing the last stanza of the Closing Hymn:
Hymn No. 2 from our hymnal "Songs of Light"
God be with you till we meet again,
At the Cross with Roses garnished;
May our lives be pure, untarnished,
Till the Rosy Cross we greet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet, the Rosy Cross to greet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.
And now, my dear Sisters and Brothers, let us go out with hearts full of love, joy, and blessing for our friend who has been released from the fetters of a physical body and the material world, knowing that as we do so we aid our Elder Brothers in their beneficent service for humanity.