Remembrance and Commendation

From the Open Files of:

New England Synod Resource Center, 508/791-1530

Contributed by:

Rev. Janet Peterman, St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA

This file is available in
Rich Text Format version for editing


1. This service may be used as a simple prayer service, as a memorial service, or as a funeral service, if the remains are to be present.
2. Some families will want nothing more than prayers at the hospital. Others will find the presence of family, friends, and members of the congregation to be a source of great comfort in their time of loss. Parents should be invited to choose what would be most helpful to them, including where the service will be held, in the hospital, at home, or in the church.

Prayer of Consolation
3. A prayer of consolation is offered.

Psalm Litany
4. Psalm 139:1-15 is read, using verse 22 as an antiphon at the beginning and after verses 6, 12, and 15.

Words of Comfort

5. The following or other appropriate words are offered.

P: The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah saying, "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy…No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days…" (65:17-18, 20a)

In that day, when God creates the new heavens and a new earth, we will not need to gather to mourn the loss of a child. But on this day, we come with sadness to seek the comfort of God. We mourn the loss of a child known to the mother who carried it, to the father who generated it, and to us in hopes and dreams.

C: O Holy Spirit, Comforter, be present with us.

6. The Prayer of the Day may be said.

7. A hymn may be sung.

Naming the Child
8. The parents may publicly name their child.

P: The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…" The name "Jesus" was given to God's only child to be a sign of salvation and the means by which we may know and remember God's lovingkindness and mercy. We name this child today so that we may remember her/his coming among us, and we ask God to bless our remembering.

(To the parents): What will you name this child?

Parents: We name her/him ____________________________________.

(The parents may also mention the significance of the chosen name.)

P: O Child whom we have barely known, we call you (name). Receive this name as a sign of your uniqueness to us and before God. By this name you will be remembered.

9. One or more lessons and/or psalms are read.

10. A sermon or meditation may be preached.

11. A hymn may be sung.

12. The Apostles' Creed may be said.

13. Prayers are said in thanksgiving for God's love for the child, as well as for the parents and for all who mourn.

14. When Holy Communion is celebrated, the service continues with the Peace. The Commendation then follows the post-communion canticle and prayer. When there is no Communion, the service continues with the Lord's Prayer.

Blessing and Commendation
15. This blessing and commendation may be offered.

P: O Child (or name), we entrust you to God who created you. May you return to the One who formed us out of the dust of the earth.

C: Amen.

P: Merciful Creator, your Holy Spirit intercedes for us even when we do not know how to pray. Send your Spirit now to comfort us in these days of need and loss, and help us to commend (name/"this child"/"this pregnancy") to your merciful care; through Jesus Christ our Savior.

C: Amen.

P: May this child (or name) and all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

C: Amen.

P: Let us go forth in peace.

C: In the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Lessons and Hymns
Traditional funeral lessons, psalms, and hymns fit with this service. In addition, the following may be especially appropriate.

Deuteronomy 33:27a (KJV)
Isaiah 40:27-31
Jeremiah 31:15
Romans 8:26-27
I John 3:1-2
Luke 18:15-17

LBW 290: There's a Wideness in God's Mercy
LBW 293/294: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less
LBW 320: O God, Our Help in Ages Past
LBW 334: Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me
LBW 346/TFBF 194: When Peace, Like a River, Attendeth My Way
LBW 474: Children of the Heavenly Father
TFBF 185: Balm in Gilead
TFBF 165: Give Me Jesus
TFBF 193: Precious Lord, Take My Hand

LBW = Lutheran Book of Worship
TFBF = This Far by Faith

Published originally in Lutheran Partners, July/August 1988.
Copyright „ 1987 Janet S. Peterman (6671 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119). The psalm is from Lutheran Book of Worship, copyright1978. Reprinted by permission. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this rite, provided that copies are for use within congregational or chaplaincy ministry settings only and that each copy carries this notice.

This hymnal version was prepared by Randy Willers.


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