Below is a brief catechism style bulletin insert I've prepared for our new funeral pall here at Redeemer, HB in preparation for the rite of blessing on Sunday February 10th. If you'd like a WORD file or PDF designed for a 1 sheet, 2 sided insert, simply post your email in the comments or send me an email.
What is a funeral pall?
The funeral pall is a sacred parament which covers the casket at a Christian funeral. It is typically made with a combination of fine linens and embroidered Christian symbols, similar to those adorning the Altar, Lectern, and Pulpit. Sizes may vary, however, Redeemer’s new funeral pall was custom made to fit any size casket.
How is the funeral pall used in the Christian funeral service?
The pall is placed over the casket at the beginning of the funeral service, before processing into the nave of the church. As the casket is being covered, Romans 6:3-5 is read, proclaiming that in through Baptism we are united with Christ’s death and resurrection. The pall is then removed in the narthex at the end of the service.
As the casket enters the church those who mourn are reminded that we also enter Christ’s body, the Church, through Baptism where he declares us his own dear children, born again by water and the Spirit (John 3).
And like all church paraments, the funeral pall adorns the service with reverence and directs the focus of worship to Christ and his gifts; it communicates the faith through a visual sermon; and above all, it points those who mourn to Jesus’ saving death and resurrection on our behalf.
What do the symbols on the funeral pall indicate?
The pall itself reminds us that those “who were baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and covered by His righteous garments (Isaiah 61:10).The white linen reminds us that though our sins were as scarlet, they are white as snow (Isaiah 1:18), just as the countless saints in Christ have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14).
A golden cross spans the length and width of the pall pointing us to Christ Crucified who destroyed death by dying for us (1 Corinthians 15). Additionally, an embroidered cross marks each of its four corners. Together, these five crosses symbolize the five wounds of Christ, His hands, feet and side, for by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
Finally, at the intersection of the cross stands the Agnus Dei, a symbol of Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). His head is adorned with a golden nimbus and he holds a victorious banner, for he reigns triumphant over death and life forever (1 Corinthians 15, Colossians 1, Revelation 5-7). And upon the vesica, stands the Lamb arrayed by a background of blue Dupioni silk, pointing to the color of the tranquil sea before His heavenly throne (Rev. 4).
These Biblical images point us to Christ’s salvation and bring the joyous light and comfort of his death and resurrection to those who dwell in the shadow of death.
Special thanks to the families who made memorial gifts to the Altar Guild for the purchase of this funeral pall.
Also, thank you to Dennis and Carol Gladieux of “Shepherds’ Threads LLC,” for their care and craftsmanship on this beautiful work of sacred art. Their labor of love has provided Redeemer with a funeral pall that will serve for generations to come.