That's Life... Is it?

Was conducting a funeral yesterday that culminated in a short service at the local crematorium, and, as is regularly the case these days, the family decided not to have any hymns, first because time is so tight at the crematorium, and secondly because they didn't think that many of his, or their peers would actually know the words to many hymns, which is a fact of life these days. We had discussed, as I usually do, the use of recorded music; when it is and isn't advisable to play it (playing music as the coffin descends, for example, tends to heighten an already emotionally charged moment, causing an explosion of grief and loading the chosen music with associated grief forever more), and what is and is not appropriate... for example, although he was a rock and roll fan, "great Balls of Fire" would probably not be a good idea, although the deceased enjoyed a good laugh, so perhaps we should have gone with that.

But anyway, I left them the night before the funeral, thinking that they had decided against any recorded music, and I drafted the service appropriately.

When I arrived at the crematorium we were held up by the service before us, which had 2 speakers and 4 recorded pieces of music of mixed provenance. The presiding minister was a Catholic priest that I know, and when he came out, I was commenting about the choice of music and he said that one effect of tightening up what can happen on church premises in the funeral mass, means that families tend to "go a bit over the top" at the crematorium.

But I wouldn't have made any comment about the music at the previous service had I known what was to come. Apparently after I had left the house the previous night the family had decided that they would have some recorded music after all, and they picked 2 tracks by Michael Buble, who they thought was quite mellow and suitable for a funeral. Now I'm not a Michael Buble afficionado so I didn't have a clue! Until we started down the aisle to the strains of "Everything" a song which expresses the love of one person for another in hyperbolic fashion, but, I would say, is perhaps more suitable for a wedding than a funeral. We could have danced down the aisle! But, the service was billed as a celebration of the deceased's life so fair enough...
But worse was to come when, after the benediction was pronounced, the second of their two chosen Michael Buble tracks started: "That's life..."

The irony of it struck me dumb... When I checked the lyrics out later on I found them to be relatively trivial, so there was no point in posting them... But as I left the crematorium I thought "Is that life?" Is that what it is to most people? A short trivial ditty, which comes to an end with a short service on the crematorium conveyor belt!

I hope not, and I hope, as I pointed to Jesus' promise that he is the resurrection and the life, that I left the congregation with no doubt that there is more on offer...

But it set me wondering, what totally inappropriate songs have you heard played at funerals... Please, no urban myths of "Smoke Gets in your Eyes" or "Ring of Fire"... I want genuine, first hand experiences...

Tomorrow, if you're good boys and girls, I'll tell you the tale of the funeral and the Andy Stewart song... Intrigued? Tune in tomorrow...


whynotsmile said…
I was once at a funeral in the crematorium at which a well-known operatic song was played (I can't remember the name at the moment, but it was one of the ones people would recognise).

It was nice and mellow until just at the point at which the coffin was being lowered, when it suddenly blasted out a really loud, fast, high-pitched bit... rather unfortunate.
Weiers said…
I once did a funeral with the song by Coleske, "Take me where the sun is shining"

I guess that is not a totaly way out song :-). It meant a lot to the family.

Take Me Where the Sun IS SHINING

Take me where the sun is shining where the air up in the skies are in my eyes and I will fly
Overcasting sight a view that wears the colour of the night appearing everytime I feel alrigt
No definition too close to see what’s in fron of me – distance can bring a change to this illusion. For just a moment I’m getting down again so lift me up Take me where the sun is shining where the air up in the skies are in my eyes and I will fly to where my dream are hiding somewhere in the sky for just a while Bridges all around where victories of winners still survive and the evidence of losers on the ground Traces left behind not always easy to erase a time so hard to get it out this frame of mind And every hour it makes me wonder why I should stay

Music: Ewald Coleske
Lyrics: Ewald Coleske & Andre Swiegers

Popular posts from this blog

A Woman of no Distinction

A Psalm for Sunday: Praise to the Lord who Listens...

I am the True Vine