Memorial Verses

The memory of program favors, prayer cards or commemorative notes can provide comfort to friends and family to attend a funeral or memorial service to loved ones.

And these expressions can be religious or non-religious or even combinations. There are various ideas about what you can do in the Bible or about the scriptures that show the personality and life of those who have died.

The Scriptures of Psalm 23 are often used for many commemorative verses about funerals or memorial services.

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Words: Un­known au­thor.

Music: Closer Walk, tra­di­tion­al folk song.

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Refrain

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

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Words: Au­gus­tus M. Top­la­dy, 1776.

Music: Toplady, Thom­as Hast­ings, 1830. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Cuyler, J. Hy­att Brew­er (1851-1931)
  • Redhead, Ri­chard Red­head, 1853

Sir Will­iam Hen­ry Wills, in a let­ter to Dean Le­froy, pub­lished in the [Lon­don] Times in June, 1898, says ‘Top­la­dy was one day over­tak­en by a thun­der­storm in Bur­ring­ton Coombe, on the edge of my prop­er­ty,

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Words: Hen­ry Vaugh­an, Si­lex Scin­til­lans, or Sac­red Po­ems, 1650.

Music: Vul­pi­us, Mel­chi­or Vul­pi­us, Ein Schön Geist­lich Ge­sang­buch (Je­na, Ger­ma­ny: 1609).

My soul, there is a country,
Afar beyond the stars,
Where stands a wingèd sentry,
All skillful in the wars.

There, above noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crowned with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.

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Words: John Newton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

Music: St. Pe­ter (Rein­a­gle), Alex­an­der R. Rein­a­gle, Psalm Tunes for the Voice and Pi­an­o­for­te (Ox­ford, Eng­land: 1836). Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Heber, George Kings­ley, 1838 
  • Ortonville, Thom­as Hast­ings, 1837 

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

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Words: Will­iam Cow­per, in Twen­ty-six Let­ters on Re­li­gious Sub­jects, by John New­ton, 1774. It is re­port­ed­ly the last hymn Cow­per ev­er wrote, with a fas­cin­at­ing (though un­sub­stan­ti­at­ed) story be­hind it.

Cow­per oft­en strug­gled with de­press­ion and doubt. One night he de­cid­ed to com­mit su­i­cide by drown­ing him­self. He called a cab and told the driv­er to take him to the Thames Riv­er. How­ev­er, thick fog came down and pre­vent­ed them from find­ing the riv­er (ano­ther ver­sion of the story has the driv­er get­ting lost de­liber­ate­ly).

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Words: James Montgomery, Poet’s Port­fo­lio, 1835.

Music: Terra Be­a­ta, tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish mel­o­dy, ar­ranged by Frank­lin L. Shep­pard in his Al­le­lu­ia, 1915. Al­ter­nate tune:

  • Nearer Home, Isaac B. Wood­bu­ry, 1852; har­mo­ny by Ar­thur S. Sul­li­van, 1874

“Forever with the Lord!”
Amen, so let it be!
Life from His death is in that word
’Tis immortality.
Here in the body pent,

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Words: Ka­tha­ri­na A. von Schle­gel, in Neue Samm­lung Geist­lich­er Lied­er, 1752 (Stille, meine Wille, dein Je­sus hilft sie­gen); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Jane L. Borth­wick in Hymns from the Land of Lu­ther, 1855.

Music: Fin­land­ia, Jean Si­bel­i­us, 1899. Al­ter­nate tune:

  • Unde et Memores, Will­iam H. Monk, 1875 

This hymn was re­port­ed­ly the fav­or­ite of Er­ic Lid­dell, the ath­lete who be­came fa­mous in the 1924 Olym­pics for re­fus­ing to run on the Sab­bath (see the mo­vie Char­i­ots of Fire).

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