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Featured Funeral Hymns

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by rlvaughn, May 15, 2017.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Awhile back I started a thread which was about hymns used in parting at end of service, etc. MennoSota's comment made me think about starting a thread on funeral hymns.

    There have been quite a few funeral hymns written. John and Charles Wesley even have a collection called Funeral Hymns (I'm sure others do as well). Sometimes these tend to be "specific" -- that is, written for a brother, sister, child, elderly, "On the death of Mrs. A.C.," etc. I can't think of any funeral hymns that have entered into popular use at funerals, though there may be some.

    In our area funeral hymns tend to fall into two categories -- old standards and favorites of the deceased. For example, we had a funeral Saturday which included "Amazing Grace" (an old standard) and "It's So Peaceful" (a favorite song of the deceased). The first category is generally "safe". With the second you never know what kind of song people may want.

    One of Charles Wesley's funeral hymns that we sing quite a bit in memorial, but seldom at funerals, is:

    1. Come, let us join our friends above
    That have obtained the prize,
    And on the eagle wings of love
    To joys celestial rise.
    Let all the saints terrestrial sing
    With those to glory gone,
    For all the servants of our King
    In heav'n and earth are one.

    2. One family, we dwell in Him,
    One church above, beneath,
    Tho' now divided by the stream,
    The narrow stream of death.
    One army of the living God,
    To His command we bow;
    Part of the host have crossed the flood,
    And part are crossing now.



    What songs do you hear at funerals? What are some hymns you would recommend?
     
    #1 rlvaughn, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  2. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    We tend to get the standards:

    Blessed Assurance
    It is Well
    Amazing Grace

    Those are the three most used songs for funerals but then we will also have some worship songs too, depending on the person/family. Our last funeral the family wanted a song from Fast and Furious played but I told them that we could play it after the service when they were doing the visitation and I'd play it once (it was clean but not a "church" song so it wasn't good for the service). Oh and I had one funeral where during the entire visitation time, they wanted a song from a Disney movie (Tarzan - You'll Be In My Heart) played over and over again. Literally from 6 pm to 8 pm when the service started, that song was the only song that played and then when the service was over and we had visiting again, the song played again. Hey - it wasn't a big deal so we did it but MAN, I never want to hear that again!
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    We hear "The Old Rugged Cross" a good bit around here, but probably with less frequency than in the past. Beulah Land/Sweet Beulah Land by Squire Parsons is also popular.

    I can't recall ever hearing a song played during visitation in our area -- except maybe in the context of something brief on those video tributes that are popular nowadays.
     
  4. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    There are two hymns that I want for my own funeral (Not that I'm expecting it to be any time soon, but who knows?):
    The First one is Before the Throne of God Above. This is an old hymn with a great new tune which has made it very popular in Britain-- maybe in America too?

    Before the throne of God above
    I have a strong and perfect plea
    A great high Priest whose name is Love
    Who ever lives and pleads for me
    My name is graven on His hands
    My name is written on His heart
    I know that while in Heaven He stands
    No tongue can bid me thence depart
    No tongue can bid me thence depart

    When Satan tempts me to despair
    And tells me of the guilt within
    Upward I look and see Him there
    Who made an end to all my sin
    Because the sinless Saviour died
    My sinful soul is counted free
    For God the just is satisfied
    To look on Him and pardon me
    To look on Him and pardon me

    Behold Him there the risen lamb
    My perfect spotless righteousness
    The great unchangeable I am
    King of glory and of grace
    One with Himself I cannot die
    My soul is purchased with His blood
    My life is hid with Christ on high
    With Christ my Saviour and my God
    With Christ my Saviour and my God

    The second hymn is another pretty well-known one: The Sands of Time are Sinking by Ann Ross Cousin. I find it really hard to sing the last two verses without a tear in my eye.

    1 The sands of time are sinking,
    the dawn of heaven breaks,
    the summer morn I've sighed for,
    the fair sweet morn awakes;
    dark, dark, hath been the midnight,
    but dayspring is at hand,
    and glory, glory dwelleth
    in Emmanuel's land.

    2 The King there in his beauty
    without a veil is seen;
    it were a well-spent journey
    though sev'n deaths lay between:
    the Lamb with his fair army
    doth on Mount Zion stand,
    and glory, glory dwelleth
    in Emmanuel's land.

    3 O Christ, he is the fountain,
    the deep sweet well of love!
    The streams on earth I've tasted
    more deep I'll drink above:
    there to an ocean fullness
    his mercy doth expand,
    and glory, glory dwelleth
    in Emmanuel's land.

    4 The bride eyes not her garment,
    but her dear bridegroom's face;
    I will not gaze at glory,
    but on my King of grace;
    not at the crown he gifteth,
    but on his pierced hand:
    the Lamb is all the glory
    of Emmanuel's land.
     
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  5. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    Martin - Before the Throne of God Above is definitely big around here too and I can't get through it without tears. What an amazing song!
     
  6. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I wonder whether the songs/singing are live or canned at most funerals you attend (hope that is a good way to express it)? When I was younger most all songs at funerals were sung by family members, church members and so forth. I'd say the majority of songs I hear at funerals now are prerecorded and played from a sound system. I much prefer the live songs myself. In fact, I would love to see a move toward more congregational singing at funerals. We do that sometimes, but not too often.

    That said, at my father's funeral we played one song that had been recorded at a singing convention. It was one of my father's favorite songs and he was leading it. His death and funeral came when several who might have sung were away at some geographical distance at a singing convention, and we opted to go that route rather than ask them to try to make it in for the funeral, or delay the funeral till they could be there. (We also had a couple of congregational songs, one of which he had written.) His funeral also reminds of something else not hymn related -- the playing of "Taps" at the graveside.
     
  7. Mississippi John

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    "I'll fly away"; and for the younger crowd, "I can only imagine ".

    Both songs comfort me at a funeral.
     
  8. spirit1st

    spirit1st Member
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    Mat_8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
    Luk_9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
    No one is in that DEAD body! Our spirit leaves it and there is no life left ! Jas_2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. If you care and wants to be kind to a person ? Do it while they are still in the body ! LOVE Now ! Not after they are dead !
     
  9. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    “Let the dead bury their dead” is not primarily a funeral/burial text. It is about the primacy of the claims of Christ on the believer over the claims of culture, tradition and family (Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:60). It nevertheless yields a measure of truth regarding the subject. Through it we understand that burial is a physical and temporal benefit, rather than a spiritual exercise. A notable funeral and fine burial may hide a wasted life, while lack of physical care for a body may accompany a treasured soul (Cf. Luke 16:22).

    Burial is the common, dominant and preferred method of disposal of the dead recorded in the Bible. There is a consistent thread of preference for burial among God's people. God Himself buried Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-8) and in His determinate counsel chose burial for His Son Jesus (Isaiah 53:9; John 19:40). Burial was performed by the early disciples for their own members. See Acts 5:6-10 and Acts 8:2. The great initiatory ordinance of baptism incorporates the allegory of a burial. (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12).

    T. J. Denson's Sacred Harp song ODEM uses a text that urges us to “give the roses” while a person is alive to appreciate them. That is a great sentiment and wonderful reminder (but shouldn't be taken to condemn providing a decent burial for the one we loved).

    Wonderful things of men are said,
    When they have passed away;
    Flowers adorn the narrow bed
    Over the lifeless clay.

    Give me the roses while I live,
    Something to cheer me on,
    Useless the flowers you may give,
    After the soul is gone.

    Life is the time for words of praise
    Hands clasp with friendly smile,
    Blessings to cheer a pilgrim’s days,
    Are always well worthwhile.

    (Text by James Rowe; Led by Denson's grandson, Mike Hinton)
     
  10. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    Generally the songs done at a funeral service at our church are done live. My husband has led them on piano and/or keyboard and we have had others lead on guitar/piano/keyboard as well. Sometimes we will have additional people to help lead the singing depending on who is requested and who is available. The funeral we had last month for a young man who passed had my husband playing keyboards and my daughter singing at the request of the family who we used to know well. The one before that had our worship pastor leading on guitar. Another recent one had a quartet singing. So it really depends. The only time we use "canned" songs is really during the visitation time and for the slideshow that the family often asks me to put together. I don't think we've ever had to resort to recorded songs for the congregational singing.
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    "At the request of the family" pretty much covers the "who" of the singing at most of our funerals. There are some who just seem to want an obligatory song and don't care how it is performed. I think "church house" vs. "funeral parlor" also tends to have some correspondence to whether the music is live or canned -- seems more likely to be live at the church house and canned at the funeral home (but there are plenty of exceptions to that). How active the family was in church affects this as well. Sometimes we run across persons who were quite active in church, yet the family as a whole has little knowledge of that part of their lives.
     
  12. Barnone

    Barnone New Member

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    I'll Fly Away....AMEN
    When the Roll is Called Up Yonder is often sang at the graveside. It is a favorite.
     
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  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Barnone, welcome to the Baptist Board, and thanks for your comment. We have a Bar None Cowboy Church in our county (It is SBC).
     
  14. Mike Hall

    Mike Hall Member
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    Let them play the marionette's funeral march for me :p
     
  15. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    rsr reminded me of this once popular song in our area, and which was used at funerals a fair amount of time among those who knew it.

    (1) There is coming a day, When no heartaches shall come,
    No more clouds in the sky No more tears to dim the eye;
    All is peace forever more On that happy golden shore:
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

    Chorus: What a day that will be, When my Jesus I shall see,
    And I look upon His face, The One who saved my by His grace;
    When He takes me by the hand, And leads me through the Promised Land:
    What a day, glorious day that will be

    (2) There'll be no sorrow there, No more burdens to bear,
    No more sickness, no pain, No more parting over there;
    And forever I will be, With the One who died for me:
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

    Chorus:

    Jim Hill, 1965

     
  16. LorrieGrace

    LorrieGrace Member

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    I would like Because He Lives played at my service.
     
  17. David Kent

    David Kent Well-Known Member
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    One little old lady at a churh where we used to live always gave a new pastor her funral hymn, Sweeping through the gates of the new Jerusalem. (Who, Who are these beside..) I couldn't find a good English version on You Tube, so here are the words and music.



    But I like this guy, you could understand every word if you spoke Malaysian

     
  18. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying New Member

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    This one is really appropriate.


    But when my former husband died, this was the one I dedicated to him.
     
  19. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    At my Father's funeral, I sang, "He the Pearly Gates Will Open."

    It not only is a great funeral song but presents the gospel

    1 Love divine, so great and wondrous,
    Deep and mighty, pure, sublime,
    Coming from the heart of Jesus.
    Just the same through tests of time!

    Chorus:
    He the pearly gates will open,
    So that I may enter in;
    For He purchased my redemption
    And forgave me all my sin.

    2 Like a dove when hunted, frightened.
    As a wounded fawn was I;
    Brokenhearted, yet He healed me.
    He will heed the sinner's cry. [Chorus]

    3 Love divine, so great and wondrous,
    All my sins He then forgave;
    I will sing His praise forever,
    For His blood, His power to save. [Chorus]

    4 In life's eventide at twilight,
    At His door I'll knock and wait;
    By the precious love of Jesus,
    I shall enter heaven's gate. [Chorus]

    Source: Baptist Hymnal 2008 #609
     
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  20. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    I'll let others decide on the opening and other hymns. But, I want the closing hymn to be a joyful one, something along the lines of:
    • Victory in Jesus
    • Marching to Zion
    during the service. At the graveside, after the casket is lowered, Black Bear the traditional pipe tune played by Scottish units on their return to barracks. That would signify, I'm home. Though with the price of a piper, it would have to be a recording.
     
    #20 Squire Robertsson, Aug 2, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
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