5 Popular Funeral Hymns and Their Meanings

Monday, January 23, 2023

"So it's true when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love."

These words spoken by the main protagonist in the novel "Brushstrokes of a Gadfly," published in 2011, capture a difficult truth so painfully simple. Planning a funeral for your loved ones just might be the hardest thing you ever do, but we can help alleviate the difficulties of funeral planning. 

When planned with care, funerals serve as a love letter to someone's life and memory. Grief doesn't end with funerals, rather, it begins an ever-changing but permanent chapter. Choosing funeral hymns allows you to be creative while also honoring traditional funeral rites. 

The following five song selections might not be typical church hymns, but they gained popularity for capturing complicated emotions.

#1 Over the Rainbow (Cover) by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

The phrase "over the rainbow," describes an unknown and unreachable place. Just because something can't be seen doesn't make it not real. In the same vein, just because a person is no longer physically present, does not mean they're gone.

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's 1993 cover, a mashup of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World," portrays the longing of looking back at a life fully lived. It evokes love as nostalgic yearning and happiness marked by grief

#2 Time to Say Goodbye performed by Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

The original Italian title, "Con Te Partirò," actually means "I'll Leave with You." When someone close to you passes away, a part of you feels like you want to leave with them. But you stay, and so you are left with a painful goodbye instead. 

The famous ballad stylistically blends pop and opera in an epic way. While pleasing to the ear, it also evokes profound emotions. It's impossible not to be moved by this song.

#3 I'll Fly Away by Albert Brumley

Next, we suggest this traditional hymn written in 1928, which makes it a classic; though you probably have more familiarity with more contemporary renditions. Notably, the cover by Allison Krauss featured in the film, "O Brother Where Art Thou." 

Today, it has become a mainstay in New Orleans' funeral culture. This jazz version evokes a joyful and optimistic spirit. It portrays an upbeat and lively sending-off that celebrates life.

#4 My Immortal by Evanescence

While this has never been sung as a church hymn, this song also captures the longing for someone who's left.  If features the contemporary blending of classical and pop music sounds. 

This song originally came out in the early 2000s from the emo-rock-pop-opera group, Evanescence. It's a ballad that immediately lifts the listener out of their body and makes them feel like the romantic lead.

#5 Going Home adapted from Dvorak's Symphony No. 9

We end with an updated adaptation of a classical piece that makes the perfect choice for an exit song. The most religious song on the list, it describes the joy of finding peace in whatever comes next. It's a goodbye song that does not feel sadness, but rather a bittersweet peace.

Choose the Right Funeral Hymns for Your Loved One's Service

Selecting funeral hymns might feel innocuous and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. But creative expression should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to honoring someone you love.

We also help with the much bigger decisions for funeral planning. Contact us today to get started.

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