Contemporary Christian songs are classy and meaningful, and adapted for modern tastes. That’s why they are fitting for your loved one’s funeral, memorial service, or even for use as background music in a tribute video.
Even if you aren’t a Christian — or religious at all — there’s no denying that the powerful lyrics of contemporary Christian songs contain universal expressions of love, longing for home, and bonds with family. When a loved one departs this world, it is a meaningful gesture to serenade their spirit. Music is composed of rhythmic vibrations and choosing the right song for this solemn but sacred ceremony can send a beautiful message to your beloved.
That’s why we’ve curated a playlist especially for you during this time of grief, reflection and healing. These contemporary Christian songs will move you and the rest of the funeral attendees but, most importantly, they will be a lovely final gesture to the loved one you’ve lost.
1. I Will Rise — Chris Tomlin
This is a triumphant song that not only talks about the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is also a metaphor for us rising during times of struggle. You can also interpret it to refer to your loved one’s soul rising to the heavens.
2. Save a Place for Me — Matthew West
Matthew West laments the passing of a loved one and articulates the pain one feels when going through such a tragedy. However, the talented singer-songwriter expresses hope and optimism. He hints that he has made peace with the reality of things, with the loved one’s passing, and that he simply asks that the dearly departed save a place for him. It’s a great sentiment that many people can relate to.
3. He's Walking — Mark Schultz
This would make a lovely, heartfelt dedication to a spouse or romantic partner who has passed away. Losing a romantic love is one of the most painful things one can experience and this song, which is told like a story, perfectly encapsulates what we cannot express during times of grief.
4. Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) — Chris Tomlin
This is another Chris Tomlin song, but in this one, Chris takes an all-time classic song and makes it his own with a unique rendition. This is a perfect song for a loved one’s funeral, memorial service or even tribute video.
5. Footprints in the Sand — Leona Lewis
The talented songstress and former Simon Cowell protégé provides us a brilliant take on the psalm Deuteronomy 1:31 in which Moses encouraged his followers to continue their journey through the wilderness, stating that “the Lord your God carried you.”
6. Dancing with the Angels — Monk & Neagle
The lyrics and title perfectly capture what your loved one is doing as they listen to the lovely songs you’re playing at their funeral, such as this one by Monk & Neagle.
7. Hosanna — Hillsong United
Hillsong United provides their own rendition of this well-known hymn. It is a classy and suitable song to play during the start or end of a funeral mass.
8. Welcome Home — Michael W. Smith
From the title, it might seem like the song is talking about a physical house, but it is actually about the kingdom of God, or Heaven. Home can also be a substitute term for “rest” and “peace”. Michael W. Smith sings:
“I can't believe that I'm here having to say goodbye
And I can barely see you through these tears I cry
I close my eyes
I can hear the sound
As angels gather 'round
Saying this is where you belong
9. When Silence Falls/When the Tears Fall — Tim Hughes
This song perfectly expresses the pain and anguish we feel when a loved one departs, but the song is hopeful and optimistic. In the end, there is a sense of acceptance of how fate plays out. The silence of your loved one’s absence might be deafening at first, but soon the tears will dry and only happy memories will remain.
10. Somewhere, Somehow — Michael Smith & Amy Grant
This is another fitting tribute for your loved on, which features the legendary songwriter Amy Grant.
11. Healing is in Your Hand — Christy Nockels
Just as the hands of your loved one used to heal you when you were in physical or emotional pain, this song tell us that time, too, will heal your grief.
12. As It Is in Heaven — Matt Maher
The title is a reference to a line from The Lord’s prayer. This song is perfect for those who are in tune with their Christian or Catholic faith. However, this song is universal and can be dedicated to anyone.
13. It is Not Death to Die — Sovereign Grace
There’s not much else to say about this song except that it’s deep and worth reflecting on.
“It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who've found their home…”
14. Heaven Song — Phil Wickham
The only place your loved one is going to is God’s paradise. Usher them into the heavens by playing this at their funeral.
15. Hallelujah — Leonard Cohen
A magnificent recording by the legendary singer and songwriter, this is one of the most famous modern renditions of this song.
16. All That You Have is Your Soul — Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman was one of the most brilliant singer-songwriters of her generation. She was a beloved figure in the alternative rock and folk scenes of the 90s. This song is a reminder that your loved one’s soul will live on for eternity.
17. Find the Light — David Ramirez
This is a lovely, poetic song. It is a selfless song that focuses on the good of the other rather than the self.
“I wish upon you peace
I wish upon you grace
I wish for less of what you want
And more of what you need
I wish upon you an old light
With a heart that stays young
But most of all I wish upon you love.”
18. When I Get Where I Am Going — Brad Paisley
This great tune by country music superstar Brad Paisley is vivid in its depiction of life’s spaces, whether geographical or metaphysical. It’s also a reflection on the journeys we embark upon, such as the last great frontier your loved one is sailing towards.
19. Ten Thousand Angels Cried — LeAnn Rimes
The title of the song alone describes the lamentation that happens in both heaven and on Earth when a loved one dies. Those angelic tears will become trumpets of triumph as your loved one enters the golden gates of God’s kingdom.
20. Angel — Sarah McLachlan
This classic song by Sarach McLachlan is one of the most emotional and yet spiritually cleansing songs ever recorded. This is quite possibly the best song, for lack of a better term, to play in honor of a loved one.
“In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel.”