For Christians, the death of a loved one, while a sad affair for those left behind since they will miss them, is also followed by hope. It’s the hope that they will see their loved one again in heaven and, for some, that the deceased will watch them from heaven.
Christian funeral services are usually held in the church. The friends and family (sometimes the entire congregation) will pray for the deceased. They mourn their loss and take condolence that their loved one isn’t gone forever but is in a better place waiting for them.
The minister gives words of encouragement and hope, encouraging people to reflect on their faith and the need to live right by God.
Although there are many differences between denominations, Christian funerals typically involve a wake, a viewing, and a funeral service, with the service’s order varying depending on the denomination.
The Bible says that God created the first man from the earth, and in several verses, expressly says or implies that upon the death of a human, they will return to the dust (as seen in Ecclesiastes 3:20, Job 34:14-15, Psalm 104:29, and Psalm 90:3).
Of course, when a body is buried, it decomposes over time, making it such that dust does indeed return to dust. Perhaps because of this, it became the tradition in Christian funerals for loved ones to throw a fistful of dirt onto the casket after it’s lowered into the ground. This is supposed to signify they’re letting the person go.
The priest or pastor will then say, “We commit the body to the ground. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in the sure hope of the resurrection to eternal life.”
For a few denominations, cremation isn’t allowed because of the hope of the resurrection of the body.