I was invited to say a few words at a funeral recently. I was not very close to the family – which made it both an honor to be invited and also meant that I wast not involved in any of the planning of the ceremony. During the course of the service, many prayers were offered and many of them were directed towards the recently deceased. The helpless theologian I am, I couldn’t help but begin the mental conversation over this classic question:
Should Christians pray for the dead?
It’s vital to realize that this is a very personal and pastoral question, as well as a theological issue. While I was thinking this question over, I ran across the following thoughts about prayers for the dead from two classic Church Fathers:
Cyril of Jerusalem: “We pray for the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep, and in general…
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