Funeral Playlist

It seems like I’ve been attending more funerals than usual in the last year or so.  Each one has gotten me thinking about what I would want to be said, done, or sang/played at my own funeral (hopefully far in the future).  This past week I found my old Newsboys album Devotion and added another song to the list.  Currently the proposed playlist includes:

These aren’t your typical Funeral “fare”, typically you hear a love song or two, or Beulah Land, Amazing Grace, and When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.  And that’s fine and good.  So why these particular tracks?

Since the first time I heard There’s a Green Hill, it has been my favorite song of all time.   I recently found out it is based upon an old 1800’s hymn.  I can think of no greater testimony to share with any friends who show up to bid me adieu but don’t know my Savior as their own.  Here are the lyrics:

There is a green hill far away
And it’s outside a city wall
Where the dear Lord was crucified
And there He died to save us all

Can’t you see it’s over?
And can’t you see it’s done?
Can’t you see that you can be free?

We may not know we cannot tell
What pain our Saviour had to bear
But we believe it was for us
And so he hung and suffered there

There was no other good enough
To pay the price for all our sin
He only could unlock the gate
Of paradise and let us in.

Can’t you see it’s over?
And can’t you see it’s done?
Can’t you see that you can be free?

The second song, He Who Feeds the Ravens is from the album Achor [ disc | mp3 album ] by Josh White.  This is another contemporary song based upon an old Hymn.  As I wrote in a previous post, this particular song (and Album) are based upon my life verse, 1 Kings 17:4, and would serve as a reminder to my family and friends that God will sustain them in all things, even through my death.  The words of the original hymn, it is said, were read to Reverend R. M. M’Cheyne by his sister when he was on his death bed.  The lyrics of Josh White’s rendition are:

Sometimes the light surprises
the Christian while he sings:
It is the Lord who rises
with healing on his wings
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
to cheer it after the rain.

In Holy contemplation
we sweetly then pursue
the theme of God’s salvation,
and find it ever new;
Set free from present sorrow,
we cheerfully can say,
Even let the unknown ‘morrow
Bring with it what it may

It can bring with it nothing
But He will bear us through
Who gives the lillies clothing
will clothe his people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens
No creature but is fed
and he who feeds the ravens
will give his Children bread

Sometimes the light surprises
the Christian while he sings:
It is the Lord who rises
with healing on his wings
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
to cheer it after the rain.

The Newsboys’ song When the Tears Fall, which I re-discovered this past week while gathering music for my daughter’s new MP3 player, strikes me as the perfect funeral song for a believer (and the believer’s family), and especially for myself.  When in the throes of grief, death seems so senseless and premature.  But there is one thing that has remained constant throughout my life and that is that Christ has remained faithful and true.  Here are the amazing lyrics:

I’ve had questions, without answers
I’ve known sorrow, I have known pain
But there’s one thing, that I’ll cling to
You are faithful, Jesus You’re true

When hope is lost, I’ll call You saviour
When pain surrounds, I’ll call You healer
When silence falls, You’ll be the song within my heart

In the lone hour of my sorrow
Through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me and sustain me
My defender, forevermore

When hope is lost, I’ll call You saviour
When pain surrounds, I’ll call You healer
When silence falls, You’ll be the song within my heart

And I will praise You, I will praise You
When the tears fall, still I will sing to You
And I will praise You, Jesus praise You
Through the suffering still I will sing

When hope is lost, I’ll call You saviour
When pain surrounds, I’ll call You healer
When silence falls, You’ll be the song within my heart

Oh yes, You are good to me
You’ve always been good to me
So trustworthy

When hope is lost, I’ll call You saviour
When pain surrounds, I’ll call You healer
When silence falls, You’ll be the song within my heart

And I will praise You, and I will praise You
When the tears fall, still I will sing to You (I will sing to You)
I will praise You, Jesus praise You
Through the suffering still I will sing

How faithful and true
Sustain me through and through
You are hope and truth
You must bring a little water
You must bring a little water

In the lone hour of my sorrow

Who springs never fail
Be faithful and true
Like a well-watered garden
Like a spring it never fails
You’re my spring never fails

And finally, the album City On a Hill: Songs of Worship and Praise, from the first time I heard it, has been my favorite album of all time.  When ever I feel depression setting in, whenever my thoughts are scrambled and distracted, whenever I am angry or frustrated, I turn to this album to calm my mind and re-focus on the One who is faithful and true.  The first track, God of Wonders, sets the tone.  It is the song I believe I’ll be singing along with from heaven:

Lord of Heaven and Earth
(Lord of all creation)
Lord of Heaven and Earth

Lord of all creation
Of the water, earth and sky
The Heavens are your Tabernacle
Glory To the Lord on high

God of wonders
Beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe
Declares your majesty
You are holy, holy

Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
And when I stumble into darkness
I will call your name by night

God of wonders
Beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe
Declares your majesty
You are holy, holy

Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)

Holy, holy
Holy, holy

God of wonders
Beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy

Precious Lord,
Reveal your heart to me
Father hold me, hold me

The Universe
Declares your majesty
You are Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy

Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the lord of heaven and earth)

and the final track, This Road, brings it all home:

All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth

Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God’s mercy holds us and we are His own

This road that we travel may it be the straight and narrow
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day through

Ok, so this has been a rather morbid post, but there you have it – my funeral playlist.  What’s on yours?