10 Uplifting Funeral Readings for Any Service

flowers for inspiring funeral readings

Funeral readings are a standard practice in most memorial services, and while being chosen to speak at a funeral of a cherished loved one is an honor, it’s normal to feel some pressure to choose the right words or best reading for a funeral from a chosen text, poem, or quote.

While gathering together as a community to say a final goodbye to someone who was loved and appreciated by all is not easy, sharing uplifting funeral readings at the service can also help you (and other attendees of the memorial service) come to terms with the loss. If you’re not sure about where to start with your reading at a funeral, no need to let pressure get the best of you – we’ve put together 10 of the best funeral readings that anyone can use. 

Why to add a funeral reading to your order of service

If you are writing a funeral order of service, adding inspiring funeral readings can complement the eulogy and lift hearts and minds. Funeral readings, poems, and quotes can help make sure your loved one’s beliefs, philosophies, and personality are reflected in their service. Additionally, many find funeral readings helpful when it comes to expressing their feelings of loss.

All funerals are different, so it’s important to find funeral readings that are appropriate for the service, and adequately commemorate your subject. Here are 10 uplifting funeral readings, poems, and quotes for any service that will touch and comfort family and friends during this time of grieving:

1. Dear Lovely Death – Langston Hughes

Dear lovely Death
That taketh all things under wing—
Never to kill—
Only to change
Into some other thing
This suffering flesh,
To make it either more or less,
But not again the same—
Dear lovely Death,
Change is thy other name.

2. Remember Me – Margaret Mead

Remember Me:
To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.

To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea – remember me.

As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty – remember me.

As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity – remember me.

Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.

3. Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

4. Turn Again to Life – Mary Lee Hall

If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone, who keep
long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake – turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I, perchance may therein comfort you.

5. Thomas Lynch:

“We get no choice. If we love, we grieve.”

6. Buddha:

“Neither fire, nor wind, birth, nor death, can erase our good deeds.”

7. Washington Irving:

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

8. Leonardo Da Vinci:

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

9. Muriel Strode:

I pray that the clean trees will accept me
And the clean earth cover me;
That the flowers will accept me in beauty
And the birds in rhythm.
I pray that God will smile upon me
When I come to Him
Purged of error and washed of the stain of life.

10. Eulogy from a Physicist – Aaron Freeman

flowers for inspiring funeral readings

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died.

You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed.

You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you.

And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all your energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell him that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time.

You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.”

Other options for speaking at a funeral

In addition to choosing an uplifting funeral reading, there are several other standard choices to pick from when speaking at a funeral. These could include: 

  • Readings from a favorite poem of your loved one who has passed
  • A handwritten eulogy
  • Choosing scripture from a religious text such as the Bible, Quran, Hindu Vedas, or Buddhist Sutras

For some of the top suggestions for poems to read at a funeral, check out our 5 Funeral Poems that Will Bring You Peace. If you’re up to the challenge of writing a personalized eulogy to recite at a funeral, see our guide to writing a eulogy for tips throughout the entire process of preparing, writing, and reading eulogies at a funeral.  

Last words on funeral readings

The most important thing to know when selecting a reading for a funeral is to not put too much pressure on yourself. Funeralocity is an advocate for anyone and everyone during their time of grieving, and in addition to helping those in mourning choose readings for a funeral, we offer the most comprehensive listings of funeral homes around the country to ease the burden of planning a funeral and memorial service. Simply search by business name, zip code, or city and find pricing and reviews on every funeral home in your area.

In addition to helpful tips on choosing what to read at a funeral, we offer guides for all aspects of coordinating a funeral such as our Memorial Service Planning Guide. For more articles on planning a funeral, processing your grief, and dealing with the logistics of a loved one passing, our Knowledge Center has everything you need to know about the funeral process. 

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