Make end-of-life plans to ensure your wishes

I knew it! Yes, one of these days I will be doing what I have asked many parishioners to consider doing in the autumn of their life — that is, to write out the end-of-life expectations for the remaining family to use in planning the end times for their loved ones.

We had already drawn up a will, which spelled out who of the survivors is appointed executor of any assets and to whom the valuable items are left. We also created a living will as to whether we choose to be an organ donor or not. We wanted to make it clear that we didn’t want any artificial means to keep us alive. We prefer to go naturally.

We had this all clear in writing, so that our five children won’t be caught in a quandary as to what would Dad or Mom want to do.

Such subjects as cremation or not, if a church service is planned, and whether the casket lid is opened or closed during the service should be considered.

The choice of music, the Scripture, the ushers, and pallbearers need to be suggested.

Who does the eulogy? Or is there a eulogy desired? In its place, perhaps, four or five individuals could speak.

What about pictures of the deceased and family or other symbols of the deceased may be considered?

Burial sites may need to be discussed, with information on why they are chosen.

Always remember, the service to memorialize the deceased always should be undergirded with the Holy Word from the beginning to the end. It is important to use Scripture, words of adoration and music of praise. Everything in the service should point to God. Too many services today are taken from cults and other major religions; therefore, it is doubly important that we raise up God in our services of commitment and burial.

The service of interment may involve other clergy as well as other faithful servants. May God receive the glory.

The Rev. Robert Miller is a retired United Methodist pastor and director of Agape Family Ministries. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.