A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, January 14, 2013

On the Imaging of God in the Eulogy

How can a life be summarized in a few brief moments? That, of course, is an impossible task, but it seems that is what the pastor or a layperson is called to do when delivering someone's eulogy at a funeral service.

Eulogies are not meant to be exhaustive summaries, but are more like snapshots of a life that paints a picture of who someone was and what they were like. Eulogies tell stories because every life is a story or rather several stories coming together in one person.

The theological question I have learned to ask myself as I prepare for a funeral is "In what ways did this individual reflect the image of God in the world?"

In Genesis women and men are created in God's image:

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (1:27).
And then humanity is given its task in the world:
God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.' (1:28).
In other words, because human beings are made in God's image, they are to stamp that image in this world. They are to reflect the character, the image of God in creation. Of course, we are cracked images. We fail to cast the image of God in a pure and pristine fashion. We fall short as God imagers; but since all persons are created in God's image they have the potential to reflect God's character in some way.

It seems to me that the task of the eulogy is paint a portrait of the divine image in that person's life. And in so doing, we can then get to the heart of what our life and witness are about-- reflecting the character of Jesus Christ in this world, who is in the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).

Let us so reflect the image of Jesus in our lives, that it will be easy for someone to deliver our eulogy.


Mike said...

Thanx for this. Last night I began to think about what might be said when my dad passes. He's fairly old and not well. So, I'm beginning to consider these things. Your post gives a helpful perspective for reflection.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for your comments. May God give you grace and wisdom as you care for your father.