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Funeral for a Stillborn Baby

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Sermon shared by Jane White

December 2002
Summary: Funeral sermon and liturgy suggestions for a full term stillborn boy.
Denomination: Methodist
Audience: General adults
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Sermon:
{All liturgical material used was from the United Methodist Book of Worship service for a stillborn child, and service for the loss of a pregnancy. I scoured the internet and other resources looking for help. The UM BOW was by far the best resource. This baby boy was born dead at term. The parents had been trying to conceive their second child and suffered an early miscarriage before becoming pregnant with this child. The older brother is not quite 3. All four grandparents have been very involved and supportive. I blessed and named the baby when he was born. The family took a lot of photos before they turned him over to the funeral director, so they had a photo book, plaster casts of his hands and feet, and the blessing certificate (provided by the very gracious nursing staff at the Catholic hospital – I wish I had thought to bring something with me). Music for the service was selected by the parents. Pre-service music was a Disney CD of favorite lullabies which was played softly enough in the background that it was okay. For a closing song they used the original soundtrack recording of “Somewhere Out There” from one of the Fievel movies. It was incredibly poignant and I would recommend its use again.}
2 Samuel 12: 15b-23 (I read only v. 23b because the story is really about God’s punishment for David’s sin in taking Bathsheba); Psalm 139: 13-16; Matthew 11: 25-30. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 at committal.
I can think of no tragedy as great as the loss of a child. It is overwhelming. I watched all of you coming into the funeral home, and each of you did what I did. There was another flood of tears as you opened the door, and then you stopped and braced yourself, shook your head, blew your nose, and took a deep breath. Each of us needed to re-group before facing this service. It has been simply awful.
Logan was planned for, loved and cared for these past many months. Nurtured in Angie’s womb, and nurtured in the hearts of many. So many expectations and anticipations were cherished in the hearts of his parents, grandparents and friends. I know Cade was eagerly awaiting the arrival of his brother and imagining all the things he would teach him about Sponge Bob Squarepants and building Lego towers. Our hopes and dreams for an unborn child fill our hearts to overflowing. Yet the hearts that have been overflowing with love, joy, and anticipation, are now overflowing with tears.
It would be irresponsible for me to stand here and tell you that everything is going to be okay, or in any way imply that there is anything good in this. God did not promise that our lives would be easy or free of tragedy. God promises that we will always have God’s love and strength. God’s promise in the reading from Matthew is that we can turn our burdens over to Him. God’s promise is that we can grow back stronger and better even when we have seemingly been pruned back to the ground. God’s promise is forgiveness and eternal life. But God never promised us a bed of roses in this life. I take heart from the story of King David’s loss of his firstborn. David wailed, fasted, and beseeched God to let his child live. But after the child was dead, David went to the temple to worship God. David washed and ate. When asked how he could behave like this, he said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” We can have that same confidence
Comments and Shared Ideas
Mark Surbrook
May 24, 2012
Thanks for these remarks. So appropriate! I found them so helpful in preparation for graveside funeral for a baby.
This is a wonderful sermon to help parents get through and get on. It was a great help to me and to the family in preparing to live and come out of the cloud of darkness that surrounded them. Thanks for sharing this message of hope Jane.

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