Modern Funerals

Shane Warne’s memorial service was a textbook contemporary version of a modern funeral. It was a eulogy to Shane. He was celebrated as a loveable larrikin, a family man, one who could mix with rich and famous, yet care for the common and struggling. He was there for others, spreading his ‘gold dust’ everywhere.

Conveniently forgotten was his texting, cheating on his wife, and the cloud over his failed charity – the Shane Warne Foundation.

As someone who has planned and led funerals for decades, I note with concern a shift. This was a funeral about a man, and about he well he has lived his life, and how his memory will live on.

Funerals used to be about God – not man. The Book of Common Prayer (1552) begins the funeral service with these words: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”.

In the face of human mortality, and our inability to control or know our future, the funeral service was a reminder that God is a God of life, love, forgiveness, justice, mercy, and judgement. The comfort we find in funeral services comes from the fact that we entrust our loved ones to God.

When we reach the end of ourselves, God’s life and love for us is only just beginning. The best parts of life, where life will be best lived, are not here and now. They are lived with God, gathered around his throne, worshipping the life well lived by his Son.

Shane’s memory will live for longer than most. He was an exceptional cricketer. But to only think about what we achieved in the past is to miss the point and hope of a funeral service.

Rev David Rietveld

Senior Minister


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