Music for Christian Funerals and Memorial Services

Men carrying casket
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Planning a Christian funeral or memorial service for a loved one isn't an easy task. The part of you that rejoices over their homecoming in Heaven often battles with the part of you that wants them to stay here, with you, for many more years to come.

Music, being a large part of life, also plays a very important part in death. The music you select for the funeral service or memorial will often offer comfort to those attending the service. The strains of the music they heard as they said goodbye will bring back the memories of their loved ones' life and passing.

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"I Can Only Imagine" - MercyMe

At the young age of 18, Bart Millard lost his dad to cancer. When people told him that his dad would choose Heaven over coming back, the 18-year-old found himself repeating the phrase "I can only imagine." 

Years later, while writing music, Bart found a notebook with the phrase and wrote the hit song.

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

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"I Will Rise" - Chris Tomlin

"I Will Rise" is a wonderful, caring ballad by Chris Tomlin that reminds us that the grave is overwhelmed by the love of Christ.

Piano and strings give this song an almost haunting feel that helps turn those moments of sorrow into something bearable.

And I Will Rise when he calls my name
No more sorrow, No more pain
I Will Rise, on Eagle's wings
Before my God fall on my knees, and rise
I Will Rise

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"Homesick" - MercyMe

Bart Millard lost eight people in his life, including his 20-year-old brother-in-law, in a single month.

He told Christianity Today that the song "...talks about getting the raw end of the deal when your loved one passes on and you stay here with the pain of not having them. Of course, having that person as an investment in heaven really makes you homesick all the more."

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

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"Heaven Song" - Phil Wickham

From the song ...

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing...

Reminding us that Heaven is our end goal, "Heaven Song" shares how wonderful things will be for the person that we lost.

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"Cry Out To Jesus" - Third Day

This song was written as a natural progression of the band members "growing up," part of which meant seeing people they loved lose people in their lives.

Mac Powell said, "My hope is that you are able to also connect personally to each verse through your own experiences. Not only do we all know these people, but we are these people."

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

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"He's Walking Her Home" - Mark Schultz

Here are some lyrics from this song:

He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night
And the nurse said Oh
Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out

But when they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

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"Comforter" - CeCe Winans

Cece sings this song as someone who has been there.

To the grieving family who weeps for loved ones gone.
The pain of separation consumes another home.
On the waves of sorrow, You walk with perfect ease,
comforter is who the whole world needs.

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"Save A Place For Me" - Matthew West

Yes, it hurts to lose someone that we love, but we'll meet them again in Heaven one day. "Save A Place For Me" is performed by Matthew West.

Don't be mad if I cry
It just hurts so bad sometimes
'Cause everyday it's sinking in
And I have to say goodbye all over again
You know I bet it feels good to have the weight of this world off your shoulders now
I'm dreaming of the day when I'm finally there with you

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"Friends" - Michael W. Smith

Saying goodbye to a friend is never easy, but keeping the memories alive lets the legacy live on as these lyrics from Michael W. Smith teach us.

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

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"Goodbye For Now" - Kathy Troccoli

Here are several lines from this song:

But there will be a time
When I'll see your face
And I'll hear your voice
And there we will laugh again
And there will come a day
When I'll hold you close
No More tears to cry
'Cause we'll have forever
But I'll say Goodbye for now

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"With Hope" - Steven Curtis Chapman

I Thess. 4:13-14 and Heb. 6:9, 10:23 were the inspiration behind this beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman.

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but...

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"Dancing With The Angels" - Monk and Neagle

Trent Monk first began writing this song after the passing of his great-grandmother. Michael Neagle added to it after the death of his father a few years later.

Trent said, "This song expresses the loss that everyone of us will face at some point in our lives, but it also celebrates the promise we have as believers that we will see our loved ones again someday."

You're dancing with the angels
Walking in new life
You're dancing with the angels
Heaven fills your eyes
Now that you're dancing with the angels

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"At The Foot Of The Cross (Ashes To Beauty)" - Kathryn Scott

As our loved ones go home to Heaven, we know that they have truly gone from ashes to beauty and are wearing crowns of glory.

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

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Your Citation
Jones, Kim. "Music for Christian Funerals and Memorial Services." Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, Jones, Kim. (2023, April 5). Music for Christian Funerals and Memorial Services. Retrieved from Jones, Kim. "Music for Christian Funerals and Memorial Services." Learn Religions. (accessed June 5, 2023).