05 March 2018

Hymns For My Funeral

Marlene's sister is visiting us. She came from Arizona to attend a memorial service for a recently-deceased family member. After the service, I overheard Marlene and her sister talking in our kitchen about planning out a funeral or memorial service. Marlene told her sister that I wanted a particular hymn sung at my service, but she couldn't remember what it was.

Then Marlene came and asked me to remind her what hymn it was that I wanted. Offhand, I couldn't recall. I think we have sung a few different hymns in church over the years, and I have whispered to Marlene afterwards that I'd like that one at my funeral.

So it occurred to me that I should write down a few favorite hymns for my funeral inside my Bible. I told Marlene that I would do that.

A couple minutes later, I remembered that Be Thou My Vision is the hymn I like most (my ability to recall things seems to be flagging some lately, and it concerns me).

So, I went to YouTube to listen to this rendition...

The tune is beautiful, but the words are a summation of my theological beliefs, and my heartfelt response to those beliefs. The composition is from an unknown, ancient (over 1,000 years old), Irish Celtic Christian. Here they are...
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tow'r:
Raise Thou me heav'nward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

As I was listening to the YouTube clip above, Marlene came back and said that she thought that was the one. Then she said, with a kindly smile, "I'll get some pipes for you too," which made me smile back (she knows what I like). 

I told her that was okay. I don't want to complicate the event. I mean, we don't know any pipers.

And then, Marlene pointed her finger at me and said, "But don't you go too soon!"


  1. Nathan Pacheco sings this with such heartfelt emotion. Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. I think that is the most beautiful rendition of that hymn that I've ever heard. Thanks for sharing that.

  3. Beautiful...I think of the hymns I would like played sometimes, an elderly friend had a list of Hymns she wanted played , really it was the funeral sermon all in Hymns . Karen Jones

  4. Elizabeth L. Johnson said, It's clear he is worshipping. Nice post!

  5. I’m not having a funeral, but if I did I would pick “HOW GREAT THOU ART”. I like your pick...good one for John.

  6. Wow, Where to start...

    Children of the Heavenly Father: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_NqzFGLYyo
    Just As I Am: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9oSB3elWY4
    God Be With You Till We Meet Again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQlv_xUYATg
    Abide With Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deJDkU6qiGE
    Sheltered in the Arms of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EsXvBXWKDw
    Now The Day is Over: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWR2vVXZE5A

    A Funeral Sermon all in Hymns sounds like a great idea!


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