Funeral Play List for an Older Saint


On the last day of the year, I played for a funeral for a dear woman whose Christmas present was waking up in heaven. She and her husband left a legacy of faith, family and service.

Though there were tears and hugs and sniffles, it was predominantly a joyful time admiring the imprint of her love on those she knew. The grief of the family and friends was clean grief, unsplattered by regrets, remorse, resentment or reproach. It’s fun to go to funerals and discover stuff you never knew. I didn’t know she was such a fisherwoman, so competitive in games and sports, and rode a zip-line not that long ago!

In my experience, In the Garden is the favorite hymn of her generation. My friend sang this solo beautifully. Can one of my readers explain the third verse? (I discovered the hymn is an Easter hymn written in from the perspective of Mary Magdalene. Still, it doesn’t make sense to me.)  Another favorite is How Great Thou Art, which the congregation sang along with What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

I retrieved the hymnal I grew up with, Choice Hymns of the Faith, and made a play list for the prelude and postlude.

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

Trust and Obey

Sweet By and By

Softly and Tenderly

Abide with Me

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Come Thou Fount

He Leadeth Me

I Need Thee Every Hour

I Will Sing of My Redeemer

Praise Him! Praise Him!

Standing on the Promises

Amazing Grace

Glory to His Name

Are You Washed in the Blood?

Blessed Be the Name

Jesus, I Am Resting

Lord Jesus, I Love Thee

Make Me a Blessing

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Me

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

There Is a Name I Love to Hear

Immaneul’s Land

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

It Is Well with My Soul

Sweeter as the Years Go By


My favorite re-discovery is a hymn called God In Heaven Hath a Treasure. Here is the “long-play” version.

God in heaven hath a treasure,
Riches none may count or tell;
Hath a deep eternal pleasure,
Christ, the Son, He loveth well.
God hath here on earth a treasure,
None but He its price may know—
Deep, unfathomable pleasure,
Christ revealed in saints below.

Christ, the Light that fills the heavens,
Shining forth on earth beneath,
Through His Spirit freely given,
Light of life ’midst shades of death.
Down from heav’n’s unclouded glory
God Himself the treasure brought,
Closing thus His love’s sweet story
With His sweetest, deepest thought.

God in tongues of fire descending,
Chosen vessels thus to fill
With the treasure never ending,
Ever spent—unfailing still.
Still unwasted, undiminished,
Though the days of dearth wear on,
Store eternally unfinished,
Fresh, as if but now begun.

Earthen vessels, marred, unsightly,
But the treasure as of old,
Fresh from glory, gleaming brightly,
Heav’n’s undimmed, unchanging gold.
God’s own hand the vessel filling
From the glory far above,
Longing hearts forever stilling
With those riches of His love.

Thus, through earthen vessels only,
Shining forth in ceaseless grace,
Reaching weary hearts and lonely,
Beams the light in Jesus’ face.
Vessels worthless, broken, bearing
Through the hungry ages on,
Riches giv’n with hand unsparing,
God’s great gift, His precious Son.

Thus though worn, and tried, and tempted,
Glorious calling, saint, is thine;
Let the Lord but find thee emptied,
Living branch in Christ the Vine!
Vessels of the world’s despising,
Vessels weak, and poor, and base;
Bearing wealth God’s heart is prizing,
Glory from Christ’s blessed face.

Oh, to be but emptier, lowlier,
Mean, unnoticed, and unknown,
And to God a vessel holier,
Filled with Christ, and Christ alone!
Naught of earth to cloud the glory,
Naught of self the light to dim,
Telling forth His wondrous story,
Emptied—to be filled with Him.

There is a decent piano version here. I don’t care for (read: I’m unfamiliar with) the extra beat at the end of the bridge section.

If you were choosing funeral songs for a grandma, what would you pick?


2 thoughts on “Funeral Play List for an Older Saint

  1. A few months before my husbands Grandma passed away (she did not yet know she had cancer) we went to visit her and the children and I, with my son accompanying on guitar sang a few hymns. When we sang In the Garden she became very teary, but she asked us to continue.  At her funeral my daughter sang How Great Thou Art.  And when I was a young girl our friends Grandfather passed away and all his grandchildren sang How Great Thou Art. It was very moving. His name happened to be Art but it was very clear all the glory was for God.Roberta

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