Readings presented at a memorial service should reflect the wishes of the deceased, and some common readings include, "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas, "Funeral Blues" by W.H. Auden and the passage from Act III of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Readings come from a variety of resources, and may include poems, prayers, scriptures, quotes or original stories. Typically, two to four readings are recited.
Prayers and scriptures are commonly read at religious-based memorial services, and should be chosen in conjunction with the family or church staff prior to selection. Different religions set differing parameters about what is and is not allowed. At most Christian funeral and memorial services, mourners or clergy cite at least biblical passage, often from the Psalms. Some other popular choices in this genre include "The Lord is My Shepard," "Romans 8:14-23," "I Corinthians 15:51-57" and "2 Timothy 2:8-13."
Alternately, a person may opt to choose a more personalized reading. It may be preferable to use an excerpt from a favorite poem, book, song or movie of the deceased. Even an email or something else that the person wrote can be used if it effectively captures the tone, character or wisdom of the dead person.