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
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
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?
Clean grief…what a wonderful term, Carol. I will be thinking of that for days. Thank you.
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