Sunday, August 9, 2015

Choosing songs for a funeral

On Saturday, 1st of August, my father reached his destination and left this world and his body after 92 years.
One of his last sentences was: "I'm not alone. Jesus is with me."

Knowing that he is now where he'd always wanted to go, in the presence of the Lord, makes it easier for us to let him go.

Nonetheless it wasn't easy to organize the funeral ceremony. My father had chosen some years ago the verses he wanted to be read:

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,11 neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
                                                                                                                    (Romans 8:31-34+38-39)

Years ago he had declared that he wanted Christoph, my former pastor and friend, to preach the gospel at his funeral. God made it possible.

What he hadn't decided were the hymns. No easy task for my sister and me. We wanted them to have meaning, to be German, so my mother would understand the words, and to be somehow related to my father. The first that came to my mind was Mein Erlöser lebt (My redeemer lives).

But Chrstoph and Martina, my friend who postponed her holidays to play the piano, said this was too difficult for those who don't know it.

So we chose Anker in der Zeit and So nimm denn meine Hände, two wellknown hymns, one very old the other modern. But we were searching a third one until my sister remembered a song I hadn't heard for about 35 years and I knew immediately that my father would have loved it: Wenn nach der Erde Leid, Arbeit und Pein. I then found this English version of the song that really touched my heart.

Yes, it was a sad and difficult day - but I know, that my redeemer lives and that I'll see my father and all the others again when I'll meet my Lord Jesus in eternity. 

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