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Stones of Remembrance

Good Friday Funeral Services Jewish Stories/Humor

Source: N/A

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-04-04

Scripture: Romans 5:6

Author: Illustration Exchange


The following illustration can be used as a great object lesson/participative exercise for Good Friday, Communion, or Easter, or can be adapted for a meaningful added element to a funeral service:

Placing a stone of remembrance at the grave of a deceased loved one is a Jewish tradition handed down from antiquity.

There are many different reasons for placing the stones which have all converged into the modern tradition: Before the time of headstones, stones were mounded on top of the grave to secure the grave, and to mark the site so it could be easily located in the future. The entire community mourning the deceased would help in the process of laying the stones. As people would later visit the grave, they would leave another stone to show that they had been there (the more stones, the more honor, because it showed that many people had been there to memorialize the deceased). The stones were also symbolic of an altar (a place that was sanctified and holy). Later in history, as headstones began to replace the mounds of stones, the tradition continued because the stones were seen as a "lasting" remembrance; a way to bring honor to the deceased (after all, flowers fade and die, but the stones will not!).


The imagery is beautifully displayed in the tomb of Jesus. Therein was laid the body of a Jewish rabbi sealed in his tomb by a giant stone. But there was no honor, no memorial. Just a disgraced, betrayed and brutalized Jewish teacher--tortured and crucified for no fault of his own. It was OUR sin that lashed his skin, OUR sin which pressed the thorns into his brow, OUR sin which nailed him to the cross, and OUR sin which rolled the stone that sealed him in that cold, dark tomb. And with all that, his stone tomb becomes a picture of the altar upon which he sacrificed his life for the sins of the world. And now, we have the opportunity to contemplate the role each one of us played in the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf--to really own it--to thank him for his sacrifice--and to bring him the honor due his name. As we approach the tomb, let each one of us bring a stone of remembrance and place it there--along with our own sin--leaving it on the altar of his sacrifice.

*At this point you can invite the congregation forward, single file, to take a stone, write their name on it, and lay it at the foot of the cross or at the base of your Good Friday stage display (we created a garden tomb seen with stone rolled in front of the grave, and laid our stones in front of it). When adapting for a funeral service, you can place the rocks on or beside the casket, either at the church or at graveside. You can also reserve the observance if you later do a headstone committal ceremony.

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).

Funeral Homily Fuel for Lawsuit

Truth Funeral Services Love (Divine)

Source: "Beliefs; A dead man's family sues an archdiocese, saying the priest at the funeral called him a sinner" By Peter Steinfels, Published: July 19, 2003, NEW YORK TIMES

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-04-08

Scripture: Ephesians 4:15

Author: Illustration Exchange


We all want to hear truth from the pulpit, right? Well, maybe not so much at a funeral--at least not so bluntly and directly.

In 2003, the family of Mr. Ben Martinez filed suit against a New Mexico priest and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, claiming that remarks made about the deceased at his funeral were hurtful and defamatory.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the family of Ben Martinez, charged that at the funeral for Mr. Martinez, the parish priest declared that the deceased, an 80-year-old former town councilor in Chama, N.M., had been a lukewarm Catholic who had been living in sin and was going to hell.

Besides accusing the priest of other abusive statements and demeaning behavior, the suit detailed psychological pain, physical afflictions, anxiety, depression and humiliation allegedly suffered by Mr. Martinez's family in the months after the funeral.

The archdiocese rebuffed the claims, saying that it was the priest's First Amendment right to speak his piece.


Of course, the time when the priest's concerns might have done some good would have been while Mr. Martinez was still alive. A funeral is the time to speak to the family and what the family needed was comfort, not shame. We all long for truth from the pulpit, but truth does not trump love. The two must be mutually inclusive. For truth to ring true, it must be spoken in a timely way and always in love!

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).

Cemetary - A Bedroom Community

Funeral Services Resurrection Watching for Jesus

Contributed By: Dennis Himm | Date Posted: 2011-08-08

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:42

Author: Dennis Himm


Cemetaries can make most people feel uneasy.  They remind us of death and the loss of loved ones.  But cemetaries need not drive us to tears and fill us with fears.  The final resting place has been so named to help us see the bigger picture--to help us to understand that this is not our final resting place after all.


Did you know that the word "cemetary" actually means "sleeping chamber"?  This means that it is the place where the lifeless body remains until Jesus comes again to awake it from the dead.  Jesus oftened referred to death as "sleep."  He woke Jarius's daughter, the widow's son in Nain, and Lazarus from their "sleep."  He will also wake us from our sleep when he comes again in all of his glory.  In the meantime, our loved ones simply sleep in their sleeping chamber (cemetary).  The mention of the word should remind us of the certainty of their resurrection from the dead.

When Is A Person Really Dead

Death Spiritual Blindness Funeral Services

Contributed By: Wes Golden | Date Posted: 2011-07-09

Scripture: Romans 3:23 ; Romans 3:6

Author: Wes Golden

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Runner's Cause Of Death: Struck By An Airplane

Repentance Justice Death

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2021-02-22

Scripture: Luke 13:3

Author: Neal Pollard

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Ordinary No More

Resurrection Love for God Reward

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2019-10-16

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:41

Author: Mitchell Dillon

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The Lifetime Pass That Was Never Used

God's Promises Faith Blessings/Blessedness

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2019-10-11

Scripture: Proverbs 16:20 ; Matthew 7:24

Author: Howard Harden

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The World Celebrated A Full Tomb

Resurrection Easter

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2019-10-06

Author: Howard Harden

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Trouble Sin Comfort

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2019-07-29

Scripture: Psalms 6:1 ; Psalms 6:10

Author: Corey Sawyers

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The Generous Thief

God's Promises Death Resurrection

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2019-05-01

Scripture: John 11:25 ; Job 1:21

Author: Stephen Kingsley

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