Liturgy: Burial of Ashes (at Sea)

On Palm Sunday, I will be burying ashes at sea. For anyone interested, this is my usual liturgy, reproduced here as it is not that common.


In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
be with you all.

Though we are dust and ashes,
God has prepared for those who love him a heavenly dwelling place.
At his/her funeral we commended N into the hands of almighty God.
As we prepare to commit the remains of N to the sea,
we entrust ourselves and all who love God to his loving care.


Hear the comforting words of the Holy Scriptures:

The eternal God is our refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.

cf Deuteronomy 33. 27 AV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled,
and unfading, kept in heaven for you.

1 Peter 1.3,4

Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the earth and the world were formed,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust and say:
‘Turn back, O children of earth.

‘For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday,
which passes like a watch in the night.

Psalm 90.1-4


A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians

Someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ No! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in sorrow  is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15.35-38, 42-44a


As we committed the body of N to be cremated, with the same words we commit his/her ashes:

Heavenly Father, we have entrusted our brother/sister to God’s mercy,
and we now commit their mortal remains to the deep
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, until that day when the sea shall give up her dead, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our frail bodies, that they may be conformed to his glorious body, who died, was buried and rose again for us, to him be glory forever. Amen.

God our Father,
in loving care your hand has created us,
and as the potter fashions the clay
you have formed us in your image.
Through the Holy Spirit
you have breathed into us the gift of life.
In the sharing of love you have enriched our knowledge
of you and of one another.
We claim your love today,
as we return these ashes to the deep
in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Heavenly Father,
we thank you for all those whom we love but see no longer.
As we remember N in this place,
hold before us our beginning and our ending,
the dust from which we come
and the death to which we move,
with a firm hope in your eternal love and purposes for us,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing & Dismissal
May the love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ
Bless and console you and gently wipe away every tear from your eye,
And the blessing of God Almighty, +Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Be upon you and remain with you,
This day and always

The funeral is ended. Let us go in peace.