Last night I sang at a Celebration of Life for a woman who died a few months ago at 95. The musicians outnumbered the congregation and her family was represented by four people.
There is something a bit sad about that.
No one cried, which was good. I have never before been at a memorial service where no one cried, but if that were possible at my funeral — not because everyone who survived me hated me, of course, but by some blessing of comfort — I’d be for it.
The lady in question had chosen the music. We sang “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “Bread of Heaven” with a wimpy harmony, “For All the Saints,” “Once in Royal David’s City,” and the Hallelujah Chorus, among other things. Instrumentalists played “Sheep May Safely Graze,” Pachelbel’s “Canon,” “Ode to Joy,” and more top 40 hits.
It was nice to hear these pieces. They may be very common and familiar, but we really don’t often hear them played live.
I know that I want “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” sung at my funeral, but this lady had dozens of pieces picked out. They couldn’t all be performed in the hour of the service. It was like commissioning a choir, some keyboard instruments, and a trumpet for your funeral. Which I guess is exactly what she did.