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Funeral Songs (Part 1) – “Elijah” by Rich Mullins

11 Aug

Dear God, I was talking with a friend recently about the songs I would want played at my funeral. I have a couple in mind, but as I woke up this morning and thought about praying to you in this journal, I got to wondering about those songs and what they say both about my relationship with you and what they reveal about what I want to say to others in one last message to them.

So, first, I need to look at the songs. Here is what I have:

If I can’t speak at my funeral, and I won’t get to write the eulogy, these will be my words to the people there. What am I trying to say with each one?

Elijah

The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging, I can tell
So, Lord, I’m begging for one last favor from you
Here’s my heart, take it where you will
This life has shown me how we’re mended and how we’re torn
How it’s okay to be lonely as long as we’re free
Sometimes my ground was stony, and sometimes covered up with thorns
And only you could make it what it had to be
And not that it’s done, Well, if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind I don’t care!

When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the starts
Well it’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

There’s people been friendly, but they’d never be your friend
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending, I want to hear some music once again
‘Cause it’s the finest thing I have ever found
But the Jordan is waiting, Though I ain’t never seen the other side
They say you can’t take in the things you have here
So on the road to salvation, I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears

There’s people been talking, They say they’re worried about my sould
Well, I’m here to tell you I’ll keep rocking, ’til I’m sure it’s my time to roll
And when I do

When I leave I wan to go out like Elijah,
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, it’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

I think I want this song to kick off the slideshow (is this prayer too morbid?), but I think I’ll need to make sure the lyrics for all of these songs are provided for people to at least look at later.

Rich died in a dramatic car accident about one month shy of his 42nd birthday, but then I guess you know that. But I think he wrote this song in his 20s. I try to imagine him reading the story of Elijah and putting himself in Elijah’s position, but I’ve always found it interesting that someone so young could write the lyrics, “my heart is aging, I can tell.” I think there are moments, no matter how young we are, when we feel beaten down and our hearts feel old. Even a 15-year-old can experience an old-feeling heart. But there is something about this song that just feels hopeful. It speaks a message to me that says, “Yes, you can get tired on this journey, but there will be some goodness and some respite on the way–and believe me, there’s something amazing to come.

I really like the second verse when it talks about the music: “Now that this is all ending, I want to hear some music once again/’Cause it’s the finest thing I have ever found…So on the road to salvation, I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride/And His music is already falling on my ears.” Obviously as a musician, Rich loved music. But I think most of us do. You built us to love music in a special way for some reason. Words put to a tune are even easier to remember than words without a tune. I like how he mentions here that he can imagine something that he loves this side of the Jordan is provided for, and even more so, on the other side of the Jordan.

Father, I think I’m going to spend the next few days going through these songs and thinking about why they touch me and what I hope they say about me and about you to those who are gathered to look back on my life. If nothing else, my desire is that they will see someone with flaws–many, many flaws–but who earnestly loved you and did his best to get over himself and point others to you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Funeral Songs, Hymns and Songs

 

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5 responses to “Funeral Songs (Part 1) – “Elijah” by Rich Mullins

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