In 35 plus years of pastoral ministry I have officiated at many funerals. I have done funerals for people I did not know, others I knew a little, and the rest I knew very well. When I have had the opportunity to officiate at the funeral for a great saint of the church, afterward people will say to me how much my words meant to them and how well I captured that person's life in just a few moments. My response is always the same-- "It was easy. I had good material."
When I have to offer a eulogy for a faithful believer, I find that the problem is not finding words to say, but limiting them. Here was a person who embodied Jesus Christ to those around her or him. It is not difficult to find nice things to say. Indeed, the words that come forth are more than kind; they become important expressions of our collective Christian faith that was put into practice by the deceased, who has now entered the church triumphant. Even in the midst of mourning and grief, I find such services to be profoundly meaningful.
One day someone is going to preach my funeral service. One day someone is going to preach your funeral service. Are we living our lives in such a way, that when that day comes, and people gather together in one place to worship God and remember our lives, will we have been faithful with our days in such a way that we will make it easy for the pastor to preach our funeral?
Will we have given the preacher good material in preparing our eulogy?