Familiar and favorite hymns can be especially consoling at a memorial service.
The Following are some well-loved and popular funeral hymns suitable for funeral services or memorials.
Funeral Hymn Choices
- Amazing Grace, a favorite sung by many denominations, is an early hymn that most people know and are able to sing. Sample words: "Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace." Writer ~ John Newton 1725-1807
- Blessed Assurance is a hymn with uplifting lyrics. Sample words: "Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest, Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love." (Stanza 3) Lyrics ~ Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915, Music ~ Phoebe P. Knapp, 1839-1908
- Abide with Me was sung at the funeral of Nobel peace prizewinner Mother Teresa. Sample words: "Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see -O Thou who changest not, abide with me!" Lyrics ~ Henry F. Lyte, 1847, Music ~ William H. Monk, 1861
- Be Thou My Vision is a beautiful traditional and well-known Christian hymn. It has been performed by some popular modern day singers such as Van Morrison on his album Hymns to the Silence, as well as by the Christian band Jars of Clay. Sample words: "High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all." (Stanza 5) This is an Irish hymn, Versified by Eleanor H. Hull, 1860-1935
Other popular hymns that many will know areAll Things Bright & Beautiful, Morning Has Broken
, andThe Old Rugged Cross
How to Choose the Right Funeral Hymns for a Loved One
Looking through a church hymnal may bring ideas to mind, as can talking to family and friends. If the deceased has left behind a funeral plan, song choices may be included.
Great Christian Hymns offers an excellent suggestion to "...include the deceased favourite hymns even though they might not be classified as funeral hymns."
Arranging for Memorial Music
Most places of worship and funeral homes will have a musician, such as an organist, available. It is a good idea to talk to the musician in advance to be sure he or she is familiar with the music of choice and can offer the type of arrangement preferred by surviving loved ones. Not every musician is familiar with every hymn.
Choosing songs and instruments are a matter of deep personal choice. Many people find bagpipe music very moving, for instance.
While planning music, it is also important to determine at what time each hymn will be played. Often this is pre-planned and printed in memorial service programs or folders given out to those in attendance.
For related funeral planning information, see Uplifting and Sensitive Funeral Music, Songs and Ideas. Also read Uplifting Christian Funeral Music, Country Songs for Funeral Service, and Uplifting Sensitive Funeral Music.
Help at a Challenging Time
Great Christian Hymns is a helpful resource. This website says "Paul said in Phil 1:21, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Indeed it is a joyful occasion for the one who has passed over to the other side. For he or she has gone to be with the Lord, and will live forever in a place where there's no pain or sorrow. But for us who love the deceased, it is a time of sorrow; a time to grief and to let go."