Compared with marriage rites, Methodist burial rites and performances of funerals changed relatively slowly over two centuries. Such conservatism, however, masks the shifts in pastoral and theological understandings of bereavement, dying, death, resurrection, and eschatology that took place during that time among Methodists and within the wider society. These adjustments can be measured by the contents of funeral sermons, topics addressed in hymnals, changes in funerary customs for both the living and the dead, and alterations in the ritual text.
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