Two Funeral Hymns based on Liturgical Texts

Before November wraps up, I thought I’d post two hymn texts I have written for funerals.

I Am the Resurrection

This is a metrical paraphrase (with interpolation) on the “Entrance Anthem” from the 1978 U.S. Book of Common Prayer (which is really just three short passages of relevant scripture).

There is (to my knowledge) no official music for this text in the BCP, and (even though there is clearly an instruction that “A hymn, psalm, or some other suitable anthem may be sung instead,”) I have provided music and/or been present at a number of Episcopal funerals where the entrance text was SPOKEN during a procession. This gives the service a wildly unbalanced feeling, in my opinion.

So, I wrote the text below, set to THAXTED (the fantabulous hymn tune by Holst).

I hope it will be useful to some of you.


“I am the Resurrection,” he said, “the Life am I.”
And who in Him have kept faith, not one of them shall die.
For all who trust our Savior, who call upon the Lord,
all they who live for Jesus shall find a sure reward.
O God, in joy and sorrow, we sing our thanks and praise,
to You, the source and ending, the glory of our days.

I know my saving God lives, the Lord of my new birth,
I know that at on the last day He’ll stand upon the Earth.
And I shall be awakened and from the grave arise,
and I shall see my savior, my friend, with my own eyes.
O God, in joy and sorrow, we sing our thanks and praise,
to You, the source and ending, the glory of our days.

For none of us are living who have our life alone,
and from our birth to dying our lives are not our own.
For if we truly have life we are living in the Lord,
and if we die in Jesus, we find our sure reward.
O God, in joy and sorrow, we sing our thanks and praise,
to you, the source and ending, the glory of our days.


Meter: 13 13 13 (or 76 76 76)
Suggested Tune: THAXTED

Eternal Rest

This text is a LM adaptation of the (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) Requiem Propers. Obviously, in an ideal situation, there would be no call for smashing them altogether into on hymn text. But funeral liturgies today are so often less than ideal. I thought, for those who could use it, it would be helpful to have a way to introduce at least some musical setting of the ideas and prayers which are proper to the music of the Requiem Mass.

For the sake of the circumstances wherein I imagine this sort of thing would be needed, I have also included in the text just a tiny bit of sentimentality. If you’re such a purist that this bothers you, you should be using the real chants anyway.

I have used this text in the past with CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM, for the sole reason that it is a well-known LM chant hymn. However, that tune is really proper to Advent. There are hundreds (thousands?!) of Long-Meter hymn tunes in every conceivable style. Pick one you like. (Or scroll down the page for another option.)


Eternal Rest grant her, we pray
and shine the light of endless day.
Appoint for her a place with those
who in You died, and in You rose.

Lord Jesus Christ, our Glorious King
protect her soul from suffering.
Deliver her from darkness deep,
and give the angels guard to keep.

Receive our prayer and offering,
the tears we shed, the songs we sing.
Accept our sacrifice today
to aide the soul for whom we pray.

With her, and with us, Lord be near.
To You we cry, bend down your ear:
For in Your mercy there is light,
You make the darkness ever bright.

Praise be to God, The Glorious King
The Father, whom the angels sing.
Praise be to Christ, His only Son.
Praise to the Spirit, with Them One.


Charles Giffen was kind enough to publish a setting of this text to the tune EISENACH, with an original harmonization.

2 Replies to “Two Funeral Hymns based on Liturgical Texts”

  1. Although I don't think it ever had any "official" status in Anglicanism, the traditional music for the Burial Sentences was this setting by William Croft:

    This was a mainstay in the repertory of parish choirs a generation ago, and in many churches it is still used (even though the Scripture settings set by Croft are not identical to those in modern Anglican prayer books).

  2. l
    Actually, there are settings. They are fiound in the Service Music section of the Hymnal 1982. They are also found in the supplement to that section in the first volume of the accompaniment edition. They are in two version, Traditional and Contemporary. This is also true of the anthems for the procession out. The styles are quite varied and include plain chant, Anglican chant and Russian chant. There are alsoo hymn paraphrases under the section of V2 on the Burial of the de Dead.

    There are several reasons these are not more universally used. These include the difficulty of getting singers at the times when funerals are held. The unfamiliarity of the music and the ever so popular use of funeral home chapels. You can get one stop service, including a catered lunch in this state.


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