Kristen Laura Stone Hartland, 1977-2005

I just returned home from our friend Kristen's funeral that was both one of the hardest things I've ever done yet also the most beautiful funeral I've ever attended. Kristen's funeral caused me to cry at first glimpse of her husband David and their baby Sam but the Liturgy for the Burial of the Dead was so healing and worshipful. For example, the following was typed at the end of Kristen's funeral program:

The Liturgy for the dead is an Easter Liturgy. It finds all its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.

The liturgy, therefore is characterized by joy, in the certainty that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38, 39)

This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord, we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.

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