Music Selections for Burial of the Dead

The music at funerals should be appropriate for the occasion. The music serves to support, clarify, and complement the action and words of the liturgy at all times. It should suggest ideas of triumph, resurrection, strength, comfort, thanksgiving and repose; Easter hymns are especially appropriate. When the family of the deceased meets with the clergy, suitable hymns and music can be discussed. It is appropriate to sing hymns or have instrumental or choral music according to the wishes of the family.
The following hymns are only suggestions. Other favorite hymns of the deceased or family may be suggested to the clergy and music director. Hymns recommended for one category may be used in another.

Entrance Anthems or Processional Hymn

The entrance anthems may be sung or said by the minister, cantor, or choir. In Rite II, a hymn, psalm, or other suitable anthem may be sung in place of anthems. This hymn helps the congregation move from the experience of the daily world into a frame of mind open to the spiritual. It sets the tone of worship for the service. Suitable hymns include:

  • 8 Morning has broken
  • 397 Now thank we all our God
  • 287 For all the saints
  • 518 Christ is made the sure foundation
  • 388 O Worship the King, all glorious above!
  • 657 Love divine, all loves excelling

The Sequence Hymn

The sequence hymn, when used in a service, occurs just before the Gospel reading. It provides a transition from the previous readings and may reflect them or it prepares the heart for the hearing of the Gospel. This hymn tends to be briefer and often contains deep emotion.

  • 379 God is Love, let heaven adore him
  • WLP 810 You who dwell in the shelter
  • 662 Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
  • LEVAS 106 Precious Lord, take my hand
  • 608 Eternal Father, strong to save
  • LEVAS 103 Steal away

Offertory Anthems

If there is a guest making a musical contribution to the service, it is often appropriate to have the selection sung or played as the Eucharistic elements are being offered and the table of the Lord is being set for communion. Alternately, a hymn may be played or sung.
Communion Hymns

These or other hymns may be sung during the Eucharist by those seated in the pews.

  • 325 Let us break bread together
  • 645 The King of love my shepherd is
  • 335 I am the bread of life
  • 671 Amazing grace!
  • 593 Lord, make us servants of your peace
  • LEVAS 188 When peace like a river

Recessional Hymns

The recessional hymn often is sung as the family leaves the church behind the remains as they are carried out. At memorial services, the family may recess during this hymn so that they are able to form a receiving line and accept condolences following the hymn.

  • 207 Jesus Christ is risen today
  • 690 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
  • 287 For all the saints
  • 680 O God, our help in ages past
  • 473 Lift high the cross
  • 618 Ye watchers and ye holy ones