Music is powerful—in several unmeasurable ways.
Losing someone you’ve loved for so long will drain you of all the words you can speak. Wrapping your head around such tragedy and going through the journey of grief is as difficult as it is. Still, music enables us to express even the most painful emotions.
Amid the pool of broken hearts, a good Christian funeral song can bring tantamount comfort. Selecting a song that fits the ambiance creates a beautiful moment of honoring and reminiscing the memories of the deceased. It creates a communal experience – a short moment of having people closer together.
Indeed, a Christian funeral song helps us form a stronger association with memories. Today, these songs are not solely limited to traditional hymns. Just like any genre of music, it is dynamic and continually evolving – and surely, out there, there is a track that speaks exactly what you are feeling.
There is so much work involved in creating a memorable funeral. Perhaps, the fitting music may be one of the most important. In this list, we’ve collated 20 different contemporary Christian funeral songs to help you in creating the best choice.
1. “Save A Place For Me” by Matthew West
We will begin this with a reliable option that sure incorporates the feeling of loss.
Save A Place For Me is a contemporary mid-tempo track released by Matthew West. Lyrically, the song talks about the loss of a close loved one filled with impactful lines such as, “Save a place for me. I’ll be there soon.” The beautiful lyricism is accompanied by West’s emotional vocal delivery and a solemn piano that eventually gets built up by strong-hitting drums and electric guitar.
West mentioned that the motivation for the song was derived from her grandmother’s death due to stroke, “Grandma was a mother of ten children who loved God with all her heart, and believed in the power of prayer.”
2. “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin, the artist behind this masterpiece, is unarguably a staple in contemporary Christian music. His podium is secured for being able to sell seven million albums globally.
I Will Rise talks about faith toward God and his plans – and how one would remain tenacious despite the pain and loss. Similar to the first entry in this list, the song starts off with a piano that is immediately backed by a violin during the verse. These sonic elements helped Tomlin’s vocal performance become more emotional.
Eventually, the song ends with a grandiose chorus accompanied by the aforementioned instruments but with added drums and a subtle guitar – not to mention a choir to make each lyric more impactful.
Related: Top 28 Songs About Missing Someone
3. “Broken Vessels” by Hillsong Worship
The Australian band Hillsong Worship was formerly known as Hillsong Live and has released songs since the early 80s.
When listening to this song, you’ll probably hear something familiar. The song samples lyrics from the Christian staple, Amazing Grace – and gave the song a breath of modernity. The song, sonically, is fairly consistent from near to end with minimal instrumentation. It features an atmospheric drum lightly supported by a piano.
The highlight of the song, however, is the light and soft vocal performance – a perfect epitome of the delicateness of the song. The song will surely imbue people with a sense of ease and solemnness.
4. “Dancing With The Angels” by Monk & Neagle
Monk & Neagle is a contemporary Christian band in Texas and is the artist behind this beautiful song.
Dancing With The Angels, lyrically, speaks about the common theme in a funeral song: the pain of losing someone you love. However, the song also talks about the happiness behind the thought that your loved one is now in heaven: “You’re dancing with the angels, walking in new life; you’re dancing with the angels, heaven fills your eyes.”
The song is composed of typical contemporary elements such as raw drums, an acoustic guitar, isolated pianos, and a violin. Additionally, the blended vocals of the performers added an extra layer of personality to the song.
5. “Broken Halos” by Chris Stapleton
This may be one of the most beautifully written and composed contemporary Christian songs of all time.
The song was released by American singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton in 2017. It served as his second studio album’s promotional single. The song can be described as multi-genre, incorporating elements of gospel, rock, and country. The mid-tempo track talks about how angels in our lives cannot stay on earth forever: “Angels come down from the heavens just to help us on our way; come to teach us, then they leave us.”
The song eventually bagged a Grammy for Best Country Song.
Related: 25 Songs About Overcoming
6. “Amazing Grace” by Alan Jackson
We know what you might be thinking – how is this contemporary. For this list, we will be featuring the rendition of this song by Alan Jackson.
Jackson is one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling over 75 million records globally. He is renowned for his country-pop sound, which became apparent in his rendition of the most recognizable funeral song. Jackson was able to retain the solemnness of the hymn by keeping the instrumental minimal – with the aid of an acoustic guitar and a piano.
His vocal performance was a highlight, giving the song another flavor of emotiveness.
7. “Heaven’s Now My Home” by Libby Allen
Unlike all the tracks listed so far, Heaven’s Now My Home is written from a completely different perspective. Lyrically, it speaks from the lens of a deceased that is comforting their loved one – telling them that they are no longer suffering and is happily welcomed in heaven, “I am sorry that I left you, I know you feel alone; God told me that He needed me, He called me to come home.”
It was released by Libby Allen in 2012. Sonically, it incorporates all necessary solemn elements, highlighting the piano.
8. “How Great Thou Art” by Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson is making a second appearance on this list with another beautiful rendition of a well-known song.
How Great Thou Art was originally written in Swedish by lyricist Carl Boberg, and was immensely popularized by American country star Carrie Underwood in 2014. What made Jackson’s version a cut above the rest is his personalized touch to his covers.
Again, he was able to retain a pretty solemn atmosphere by only incorporating minimal instrumentation. The focus was all set on his voice, the lyrics, and the emotion that he is trying to convey.
Read also: Top 11 Christian Ukulele Songs
9. “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley
Similar to the earlier entry Heaven’s Now My Home, When I Get Where I’m Going speaks from the perspective of those who have deceased.
The song was released by the Country superstar Brad Paisley way back in 2005. It served as the second single off of his full-length album Time Well Wasted. The song featured vocals from Dolly Parton, herself, helping the song clinch the top spot in Billboard’s hot country songs.
The song talks about what heaven would be like with the aim of bringing comfort, forgiveness, and acceptance: “Yeah, when I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears; I will shed the sins and struggles, I have carried all these years.” The beautiful lyrics were backed by mellow country elements.
10. “Homesick” by MercyMe
The American contemporary Christian band MercyMe has surely caused saves, and this emotional track is a good example of why.
Compared to the remainder of the songs in this list, Homesick is relatively older as it was released back in 2004. The song served as a single in the band’s commercially successful album Undone. The song peaked at number three in the Hot Christian Songs chart.
According to the band’s vocalist, the song was inspired by the death of eight close individuals to the band.
11. “No More Night” by David Phelps
If there’s someone who could bring out the softest emotions, it would be David Phelps. The American vocalist and Christian musician produced and released No More Night as part of his 2007 album.
Unsurprisingly, the highlight of the track is Phelps’ vocals – releasing into a climax of vocal acrobatics. The song is basically stripped down, being accompanied by a piano and a drum. And these elements, alone, can sure bring tears in one’s eyes.
The song talks about releasing pain and giving all trust to God’s plan.
Read also: 21 Songs About Hope
12. “I’ll See You Again” by Westlife
The Irish boyband Westlife may not be necessarily an expected entry. However, it was made clear that the band’s main vocalist has a strong Christian faith that transcended into this song.
I’ll See You Again is one of the most relatively recent songs of the band, being released in 2009. In 2016, it made it into the top pop funeral song in Ireland. Sonically, the song kicks off with an orchestra accompanied by a very apparent horn. This sound and instrumental would persist throughout the track.
It would be safe to say that the band’s vocals are the song’s primary highlight.
13. “Angels Among Us” by Alabama
What makes this song unique from everything else is that it’s actually part of a Christmas album. American Country band Alabama released Angels Among Us way back in 1993 as part of Cheap Seats.
The song is, again, relatively stripped down. It incorporated vocals from children and youth choirs in Alabama. This call added another layer of emotion and innocence to the track. Not to mention, the accompanying piano and violin made everything else immensely tear-jerking.
Many would describe the song as a “blessing.”
Read also: 21 Songs About Storms
14. “On My Way Home” by Booth Brothers
Indeed, life is temporary. Our physical journey across life is just a transition towards a life with God. On My Way Home makes this thought the centerpiece “I’m only passin’ through on my way home, heaven is the place where I belong; More than just a feeling or a dream, a land beyond the stars is calling me.”
The vocal performance in this track is superb with the smooth harmonies from the Booth Brothers. The performers of the song are a trio of southern gospel singers, and it was more than apparent in this track.
15. “Jealous of the Angels” by Donna Taggart
Several of the tracks listed here seek to imbue comfort. However, the track Jealous of the Angels targets to validate and recognize the grief that comes with losing a loved one. Yet, it reminds the listeners that God always has a plan.
The song was released by the Celtic musician Donna Taggart in 2016. The video for the song was able to garner a massive 27 million views. Similar to many Christian funeral songs, instrumentals to this track is minimal – keeping the attention to Taggart’s vocals accompanied by a piano.
Read also: 25 Songs About Being Happy
16. “Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There” by Jennifer Hudson
The track aspired to instill comfort to the mourning by saying that in heaven, there is no more suffering. The dear departed is holding on to the promise of “a home over there; no more sickness, sorrow, pain or cares,” letting the surviving loved ones take comfort to the fact that there is a better place the perished one is looking forward to entering.
American Idol alumnus and pop superstar Jennifer Hudson sang the track. Sonically, Hudson’s powerful vocals were enough to carry the song – with the sole company being a hearty organ and piano.
17. “If Heaven” by Andy Griggs
“If heaven was an hour, it would be twilight, When the fireflies start their dancin’ on the lawn; And suppers on the stove, and mammas laughin’” – lyrically, If Heaven is one of the strongest in this list.
Country musical artist Andy Griggs released the track in 2004 as part of his third studio album This I Gotta See. The appreciation of the general public toward the song was apparent as it was able to penetrate the top five of the Hot Country Songs.
Read also: Top 19 Best Reggae Songs
18. “Knowing What I Know About Heaven” by Guy Penrod & Sarah Darling
When asked about the motivation behind this song, American country singer Sarah Darling said that it was imbued by her faith toward God during the death of her grandfather, “I wrote it about him several years ago. It has touched so many lives of those who have lost loved ones – or are dealing with terminal illness.”
It was eventually recorded and publicly released by Guy Penrod through Social Media—their voice gave life to the track.
19. “Cry Out to Jesus” by Third Day
A common element interpolated by contemporary Christian funeral songs is an atmospheric piano that sets a solemn ambiance.
Christian rock band Third Day wrote and performed Cry Out to Jesus as part of their 2005 studio album Wherever You Are. The track reaches out to the people hurt by the loss of someone they loved and tells them to surrender their pain to God.
The superb storytelling is accompanied by a notable vocal performance and a piano that are eventually built upon by drums and a violin. All of this enabled the song to clinch the top spot in Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs.
Read also: 20 Best Disney Songs of All Time
20. “When I’m Gone” by Joey + Rory
And of course, we will be ending this list on a strong note.
This track delved into the message of going through pain after losing someone you loved, and reminding that everything will be okay still (“A bright sunrise will contradict the heavy fog that weighs you down; in spite of all the funeral songs, the birds will make their joyful sounds; you’ll wonder why the earth still moves, you’ll wonder how you’ll carry on; but you’ll be okay on that first day when I’m gone”). The song tells a story of a man singing to a wife he lost. The writer of the song said that the song was motivated by the loss of her mother.
Navigating the Loss: Final Thoughts
“When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other.”—Rob Sheffield
Music is collective, and its role in celebrating one’s life cannot be understated.
Listening to the best-fitting Christian funeral song can temporarily strip us of the pain and grief we are feeling. It helps us form a stronger bond with God and greater trust in what He has planned.
A good funeral song gives us a medium to tell a story and heal for a short period of time—and hence, there is never a one-size-fits-all.
In this article, we’ve collated a list of contemporary Christian funeral songs that we highly recommend. This is in hopes of helping you organize a moment worth treasuring. And also, listening to these songs may help you find solace in times when thoughts of your departed loved one bring sorrow upon your soul. It makes navigating the loss a bit easier as you eventually come to terms with the reality that life will still go on; only this time, it’s not with the perished one’s physical existence, but the memories.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.