Words that Uplift: A Look at Beautiful Eulogy and Our Own Legacy
I’ve only been to one funeral that made me think, ‘I want mine to be just like this’.
Like any funeral, we felt the pang of separation and loss. Yet, there was a certainty, a calm, a joy that seemed to hang in the air just above our grief – perforating it. It was the kind of ‘celebration of life’ where you didn’t feel strange for smiling.
Maybe it was because the flowers placed about were wild, or because the man they were for was new to the Kingdom and found Jesus in his final chapter, or that we all learned so much from someone we only knew for a little time. I think though, that it had to do with the stories told in his honor.
People came up one by one and spoke of the life of the person they’d just lost. There were funny anecdotes, remarks on our friend’s spiritual and emotional growth, and an overall thankfulness for getting to be a part of our friend’s life.
The eulogies were nothing short of beautiful.
It’s a heavy thing for the living to speak of the dead.
Eulogies come with a lot of pressure. They require an understanding of the person who has gone on, a truthfulness about who they were, and a level of high regard. I admire those that have the courage to muddle through such an address. If grief does anything well it chokes the imagination. Yet, despite all this, some are able to momentarily breech their own heartache enough to summarize the work and life of someone they love. Some people are eloquent and reverent while some people praise the person they speak of.
Some such people are the Beautiful Eulogy.
The thesis statement of their music can be found in their first album,
“Maybe music isn’t the best medium for making much of the Messiah
but for Courtland Urbano, Braille, and I, there really is not a lot of options/
Only poor penmanship trying to paint pictures of proper doctrine.”
I would argue though and say this music does make much of the Messiah.
We can relate this to being Christians ourselves. We too are part of His representation on Earth, we carry the Truth, and we are to speak of our Resurrected Father.
This has always bothered me and often kept me hesitant in how I talk about Jesus. How often do I put words in God’s mouth? How often do I paint Him according to my context, and my convenience? Surely, I cannot articulate well who my Father is. How do we speak of Him? How do we articulate a person we’ve never met?
It’s enough to make your head spin, but I am encouraged by artists like Beautiful Eulogy who accept the challenge. They wrote these words in the second verse of their self-titled track.
“How sweet the Gospel sounds to ears like mine
Well acquainted with pain and strained relationships
Friendships that suffer from long distances
Or even worse they get severed from something more severe
And He still hasn’t wiped away all my tears yet
My cheeks get wet every now and then
Even when I give my best, I know I fall short
I get scared when the ball’s in my court
Focused on my performance, wretched and poor
It makes the message more real when I preach it
I’m not there yet so I’m reaching, reaching for a goal:
To stand before my King and be speechless
Then, never again will I question if His grace is sufficient to cover my sin…”
This verse! Go ahead and read it again.
It’s so frustrating to be broken, isn’t it? Day after day pushing your pieces back into place with no proper glue, only to fall apart again. I beg God for a way to look past it, to be numb to it, to forget all the gentle heartaches that creep in. Yet, the Gospel is sweet to ‘ears like mine’. Despite things that haven’t gone how I wanted them to – they are not proof of God being silent – they are proof that I’m not in control. He has more in store. I don’t get to see the full picture now, and that’s why I don’t understand.
And for the days that I have left, I am reaching. I mirror these lyrics of repeatedly trying to earn God – hoping I can do something to make Him look down and smile. Yet, grace has already done that. Still, I do strive, I do toil for what I pray pleases His name to be worthy actions of a child. But I am incomplete, waiting to be restored upon sight of my Father.
These lyrics brush up with my story, and no doubt to some of yours. They edify God and encourage the listener. Beautiful Eulogy has stripped any pretense away from their music and aimed simply to lift their words up to God.
It’s impossible to define our omniscient Creator with the phrases of mere people formed by dust, but Beautiful Eulogy knocks on the door still. In glorifying Him through music they also invite the listener to conviction, likeminded praises to God, and an overall understanding that we have family beyond blood that identifies with our fight against our flesh. He has given us people that know what it’s like to choose the hard thing instead of the ‘now’ thing. This mounts to the outcome of all of their music: He is worthy of praise.
One day we won’t speak for ourselves anymore. One day our reputation will be a matter of the past. And one day we’ll only be the tears and photos of those we leave behind. I pray the words said of me will be ones that reveal the heart of a Child of God. I hope my eulogy says that following my Father was the most beautiful thing I could have done with my life.
“Until then I’ll remain where You have me
With joy when I feel unhappy
And a peace that surpasses all my understanding
My life is in the hands of Your love everlasting.”