As I had mentioned on Laura’s Tribute Page, it was difficult for Laura to pick out just three or four hymns for her funeral service. Each time we revisited her funeral bulletin over the last six months of her life she kept changing them. “I like so many it’s so hard to choose,” she lamented. Then I had a burst of inspiration: “Why choose? You’re in the choir… Let’s have a Hymn Sing!” And that’s how we decided to have an hour of singing her favorite hymns before the service.
It was one thing, over the last six months of her life, to simply list the hymns in the bulletin as she selected them. It was another thing entirely to sing them the day of her funeral. Everyone who spoke to me since that day said they were moved by each and every hymn, That Laura had truly chosen wisely. Each hymn had a particular relevant message to tell us about how Laura knew Christ, how she leaned on him, and how she very much looked forward to enjoying the many promises He has made to us, his children.
After digesting and meditating on her life and the life we shared these last forty days since her passing I have gained an even deeper understanding of her walk with the Lord and her deep desire to be with him… to “go home” as she had put it often, saying she was “homesick.” No doubt, these hymns kept the embers burning in her soul until that desire was realized. Each hymn has a particular “key verse” that I feel hones on in her Christian walk and her desire to go home when the Lord desired to call her in His time.
It is the hymns and Psalms of the faith, the gift of song, that often penetrate the soul in ways the spoken word cannot. Like a wedge penetrating a knot in a stump you are trying to chop, hymns often “grease the skids” of the soul which I believe is why Christian corporate worship often begins with a Hymn as our tradition does.
Below is a list of the hymns which ministered to Laura during her cancer journey – those which were listed in her bulletin – and what I think is the key verse in each: the fulcrum which moved her spirit and kept her steadfast in her life and gave her no fear of death.
Are there any other hymns which speak to you this way? Leave a comment below… I’d love to know!
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
O the deep, deep love of Jesus! Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free. Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fulness over me. Underneath me, all around me is the current of Thy love. Leading onward, leading homeward to thy glorious rest above.
I Will Sing of My Redeemer
I will sing of my Redeemer, his triumphant power I’ll tell – how the victory he giveth over sin and death and hell. Sing, O sing of my Redeemer! With His love He purchased me; On the cross He sealed my pardon: paid the debt and made me free!
Clothed in Righteousness
Clothe us in Your righteousness – hide filthy rags of sin. Dress us in Your perfect garb both outside and within.
How Deep the Father’s Love For Us
I will not boast of anything; no gifts, no power, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ: His death and resurrection. Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.
Jesus, Lover of My Soul
Jesus, Lover of my soul: let me to thy bosom fly while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high. Hide me, O my Savior – hide me till the storm of life is past. Safe into the haven guide me, O receive my soul at last!
Perfect submission, all is at rest. I, in my Savior, am happy and blessed. Watching and waiting, looking above: filled with his goodness, lost in his love. This is my story, This is my song. Praising my Savior all day long.
How Firm A Foundation
When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow. For I will be with you: your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.
Abide with Me: Fast Falls the Eventide
I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless: Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river. In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.
What Wondrous Love is This
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on. I’ll sing on! And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on. And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be… and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on. And through eternity I’ll sing on!
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Praise to the Lord, who with marvelous wisdom hath made thee! Decked thee with health and with loving hand guided and stayed thee. How oft in grief hath not he brought thee relief, spreading His wings to o’er shade thee!
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see! All I have needed thy hand hath provided – Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
And when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace.
It Is Well With My Soul
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control: That Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it – prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.
Just As I Am, without One Plea
Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come… I come!
And Can It Be That I Should Gain
No condemnation now I dread – Jesus and all in Him is mine! Alive in Him, my living head, and clothed in righteousness divine, boldly I approach the eternal throne and claim the crown, through Christ, my own. Amazing love – how can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?