Abide With Me
A prevalent choice, this hymn was written by Anglican minister Henry Francis Lyte in 1847, and has a deep spiritual meaning, reflecting on life and praying for God's eternal presence. Its wider usage has made it familiar to millions; football fans know it as the hymn sung before each FA Cup final, rugby league supporters from each Challenge Cup final, and it is heard at Remembrance Day services all over the world. Reassuring and poignant, Abide With Me is one of the most familiar hymns in the country, cherished by many and therefore an understandably popular choice for funeral celebrations.
Jeevan maran sukh ho-e jinhaa gur paa-i-aa
This Sikh hymn, composed by Guru Raam Das and found in the Guru Granth Sahib (the central scripture of Sikhism), is often heard at Sikh funerals. Expanding on the belief that the human soul will always have a life beyond this world, the hymn affirms that the peace achieved by living a good life will remain eternally. According to the translated words, "the true ones are truly absorbed into the True Lord". For those present, that can serve as timely reassurance.
- How Great Thou Art (Christianity)
- Abhidhamma 7 Verse Incantation (Buddhism)
- Amazing Grace (Christianity)
Morning Has Broken
Written in 1931 by author Eleanor Farjeon, this Christian hymn may be recognised by many from fond school days memories. With its praise and wonder for the emergence of a new day, its uplifting message strikes a chord across generations, from mums and dads to their children and grandchildren, and very often at funerals. Given its popularity, it is unsurprising that it has been recorded countless times by some of the most well-known names in music. Perhaps the most popular version was released by Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam). A hit single all over the world, this plaintive rendition captures the sense of light and gratitude that so many seek at funeral services.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
Similar to Morning Has Broken, this Christian hymn focuses on the beauty of nature and the safety provided by the Lord; messages that convey comfort to many mourners. First written around 1650 with words derived from Psalm 23, it was set to its now-familiar tune around 1872. Another version with widespread recognition, was composed by Howard Goodall for the opening titles of BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley. Through this, the hymn gained an even larger audience and the warm connection it formed with church services in the minds of many people has only increased its popularity as a musical choice for funerals.
- All Things Bright And Beautiful (Christianity)
- Lord Of The Dance (Christianity)
- Shine Jesus Shine (Christianity)
You Raise Me Up
One of the most popular funeral songs of recent years, 'You Raise Me Up' was in fact first performed at the funeral service of its composer's mother. It went on to become an international hit for both Josh Groban and Westlife, with both versions enduring for their clear message of strength at a time of sadness. When people are looking for strength, it is always good to remember the people who gave it to them, and that they always will. Time and again, this rousing number has proven itself capable of that and is often used as funeral entrance music.
You Are The Reason
Finally, a very contemporary, secular choice. Calum Scott's 'You Are The Reason' is a pop ballad with many of the qualities of a hymn. The video for this declaration of devotion has been watched over a billion times online, and it could make both an unexpected yet uplifting choice of song for a funeral. With words that vow their singer would "climb every mountain and swim every ocean" just to be with their loved one once more, it would be sure to resonate with many attendants; a warming reminder of the person and the love that brought them to the service.
- Fields Of Gold
- Wind Beneath My Wings
- You'll Never Walk Alone