Monday, October 11, 2004
Let's all get morbid! ::

Many of the Biblical Studies bloggers have duely taken notice of the death of Jaques Derrida.
Mark Goodacre
Peter Kirby
Paul Nikkel
(So I won't, except to note that he was - I believe - the only intellectual in recent memory to fill the Auckland Town Hall for a lecture.)

Instead I'll mark a death of much less significance on the world stage. On Saturday we gathered to celebrate Joyce's life, comfort her family and commit her to her God. Joyce was within a decade of my age, but had had two triple bypass opperations and for some years now regular dialysis, yet her indomptable spirit, and nearly unfailing good humour, had impressed more than her family, and the church was packed. Thanks to her, and her family's, deep faith it was a lovely funeral.

So, what's all this to do with this blog? Well, it caused me to think again about what sort of funeral I'd like. It may seem morbid, but long ago when B and I were newly married, we once had a long conversation about this (probably just after I'd taken a funeral!) Back then I wanted the hymn "Thine be the Glory" and my ashes scatttered from the top of Westbury hill - it's White Horse was a local landmark, and it's the highest and windiest hill in that part of Wiltshire.

At my dad's funeral the hymn "The Strife is O'er the Battle Done, the Victory of Life is Won" seemed most appropriate.

So, what would I choose now?

Well I'd still like my ashes scattered, from a good hill on a windy day, or over the sea at high tide. Somewhere where they will travel far and wide.

But for the songs... Well, I'd still not go for any modern ones. I can't really think of one that's serious or deep enough for a funeral.

So how about: "I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity" (St Patricks Breastplate)? After all, when I'm knocking on heaven's door I know I won't get in on my own virtues, no, my only excuse for getting in will be that covenant with God in Christ... Luther's hymn wouldn't be bad either: "A safe strong hold my God is still..." and I still fancy "Thine be the Glory" belted out good and fast at the end, to leave the congregation breathless, but joyful.

And, for the party afterwards (sorry the "tea") have some caterers provide some nice nibbles, and if the church bring the usual plates as well, people will be able to have a good chat and catch up, and will feel they can hang around a while and enjoy themselves...

So, that's enough from me on that topic - for now at least... How about you? Can anyone nominate a good song for a funeral?

I don't mean sombre, I do NOT want a sombre funeral, I mean serious. Something that takes life and death, heaven and hell, God and evil seriously, and has a feeling that what we do (or even what the deceased DID) in this life matters. So no "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs at my funeral please, but let's have some theological meat! [back]

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