“Blessed are they who do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” -Revelation 22:14
The origins of this black spiritual are unclear, but it was popularized when Louis Armstrong recorded it in 1938. In the New Orleans tradition of a “jazz funeral” it is often used as a dirge to accompany the casket to the grave. Our month on saints would not be complete without giving it a listen. Imagine yourself entering God’s heavenly kingdom as one of company of saints! Don’t you want to be in that number?
Last night I received an email from my good friend, Nancy, who is also one of our faithful readers. She mentioned that she had been at a funeral and the music was just lovely. In her words:
In keeping with the blog, I went to the funeral yesterday of a dear friend from church. It was the most singing at a funeral that I have ever experienced, and it was perfect. One of the songs we sang was the “Hymn of Promise” that I had sent to you. And we sang a medley of last verses of six old hymns that all spoke of heaven and Jesus coming to “take us home.” There were more hymns- all were affirmations of faith and hope.
This made me think about the songs that uplift me in times of grief. One of my favorites is “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” It’s an Easter song, based upon Job 19:25-26
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
I can’t imagine anything more comforting and hopeful than that word picture. Here’s the whole hymn, in case you don’t know it: