Not the God of the Dead but of the Living

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In some branches of Christianity, November 2 is celebrated as ‘All Souls Day,’ or ‘Commemoration of the Faithful Departed.’  In some countries it is also called ‘The Day of the Dead.’ This prayer reminds us that those who die in faith live in Christ.

O eternal God and Father,
you are not the God of the dead but of the living,
and all who put their trust in you,
who rest in their chambers under the earth,
live in you.
Be merciful to us, dear Father,
do not let us be afraid of the power and sting of death,
but keep us in the true faith in your dear Son,
who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Uphold us with your Holy Spirit,
and give us a clear conscience,
that we may live our Christian lives,
and finally fall asleep in peace and joy
when we leave this valley of tears,
and rest in peace until you open our graves
and awaken us with the sound of the last trumpet;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Order for Burial, found in Allgemeines evangelisches Gesang- und Gebetbuch zum Kirchen und Hausgebrauch,Hamburg, 1846, p. 760#2.

A similar prayer appears in Christian Worship: Occasional Services in the burial rite.

Original in German:

O ewiger Gott und Vater, der Du nicht bist ein Gott der Todten, sondern der Lebendigen, denn in Dir leben alle, so unter der Erden in ihren Kammern ruhen: wir bitten Deine väterliche Güte, Du wollest uns des Todes Gewalt und Stachel nicht lassen erschrecken, sondern uns in Deinem Sohne, welcher ist der Weg, die Wahrheit und das Leben, in rechtem Glauben und gutem Gewissen gnadiglich mit Deinem Geiste erhalten, damit wir christlich leben, und seliglich von diesem Iammerthal abscheiden und in Fried und Freude einschlafen, und sanft ruhen können, bis Du unsere Graber eröffnest, und durch der Posaunen Stimme uns wieder zum Leben aufweckest, durch Jesum Christum unsern Herrn. Amen.

 

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pastorstratman

Lutheran pastor serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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