Funeral Hymns & Organ Voluntaries
I love to play funerals. While this may seem strange, if you think about it, it makes sense. At a funeral we see sin at its worst, with no hope left. But we also know that they have passed through death and are now feasting with the Lamb in His kingdom that shall have no end. Death has been swallowed up in victory, or as Pastor Weedon put it at the Higher Things conference this past summer (I paraphrase: Christ has torn open Shelob’s (death) belly, where it can no longer hold Christians. (Weedon said it much more eloquently.) So the music will be solemn and reflective, as well as joyful and triumphant.
I thought I’d list some of my favorite funeral hymns, as well as voluntaries. You can add your favorites in the comments. I look forward to reading them.
This is not an exhaustive list, but merely some of the hymns and pieces I like for funerals. It is in no particular order.
Hymns (all hymn numbers are from Lutheran Service Book):
677 For All the Saints
656 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
645 Built on the Rock
450 O Sacred Head No Wounded (especially st. 7)
467 Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
490 Jesus Lives! The Victory’s Won
578 Thy Strong Word
670 Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
672 Jerusalem the Golden
676 Behold a Host, Arrayed in White
594 God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
596 All Christians Who Have Been Baptized
Lift High the Cross – Charles Ore
Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng – Charles Ore
Ein Fest Burg (A Mighty Fortress) – Helmut Walcha
The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended – Jeffrey Blersch
The list got a little long, but I hope it is helpful and maybe will even produce some discussion.