The Benediction at the Funeral Celebration

Through my friendship with Dr. Raper, I learned to look with deeper trust to the example of Christ for guidance in all things. Dr. Raper found inspiration in the Bible, in worship, in prayer, and in the words of Christian writers like Brother Lawrence who said:

All things are possible to him who believes;
still more to him who hopes;
still more to him who loves;
and most of all to him who practices all three.

(From The Practice of the Presence of God)

A great deal was possible to Dr. Raper because he practiced all three: faith, hope, and love. May we go out with our minds set on likewise following the example of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit given to us.

Will you pray with me?

Lord, make us instruments of your peace in likeness to Christ.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, let us sow pardon;
where there is doubt, let us sow faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is ignorance, learning;
where there is oppression, deliverance;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Lord, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(Adapted from the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)

Lord, grant the spirit of faith and courage to the Raper family and to all of us who grieve with them, that we may have strength to meet the days to come; not sorrowing as those without hope but in joyful expectation of eternal life together.

And now as you depart to carry on, may the Lord bless you, and keep you: May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace, now and forevermore. We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Adapted from Numbers 6:24–26)