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The 6 Hymns Sung at Pastor Tim Keller's Memorial Service

The 6 Hymns Sung at Pastor Tim Keller's Memorial Service

Tim Keller, an influential author and pastor known for his dedication to urban ministry, died on May 19, 2023, after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. A memorial service was held at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in his honor on Tuesday, August 15.

During the service, Keller, the long-time pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, was remembered as a humble servant and a dedicated student of God’s Word.

In an article written by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Director Francis Collins for Christianity Today, Collins recalled asking Keller one Saturday in April near the end of his chemotherapy treatment stint at the NIH hospital if he’d like to hold an impromptu service in the hospital’s atrium. Keller said yes. Collins then asked Keller if he had any favorite hymns to suggest. Again, Keller said yes.

“Let’s sing six hymns in a particular order, because they tell the whole story of Christian faith and God’s care for us,” Collins recalled Keller saying.

Those same hymns were sung at Keller’s memorial service earlier this month.

Here are the six hymns sung at late pastor Tim Keller’s memorial service:

Photo courtesy: ©Wikimedia Commons/Frank Licorice Flickr/Creative Commons, image cropped and resized.

  • man playing piano

    1. “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” by Walter C. Smith (1867)

    Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
    in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
    most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
    almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

    Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
    nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
    thy justice like mountains high soaring above
    thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

    To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
    in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
    we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
    and wither and perish but naught changeth thee. 

    Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
    thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
    all praise we would render, O help us to see
    'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.

    Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Darius Soodmand

  • 2. “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” by Charles Wesley (1738)

    2. “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” by Charles Wesley (1738)

    And can it be that I should gain
    An int'rest in the Savior's blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain?
    For me, who Him to death pursued?
    Amazing love! how can it be
    That Thou, my God, should die for me?

    Amazing love! how can it be
    That Thou, my God, should die for me!

    'Tis mystery all! Th'Immortal dies!
    Who can explore His strange design?
    In vain the firstborn seraph tries
    To sound the depths of love divine!
    'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
    Let angel minds inquire no more. [Refrain]

    He left His Father's throne above,
    So free, so infinite His grace;
    Emptied Himself of all but love,
    And bled for Adam's helpless race;
    'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
    For, O my God, it found out me. [Refrain]

    Long my imprisoned spirit lay
    Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
    Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray,
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free;
    I rose, went forth and followed Thee. [Refrain]

    No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
    Alive in Him, my living Head,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    Bold I approach th'eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own. [Refrain]


    Photo courtesy: David Beale/Unsplash

  • funeral flowers, celebration of life event in announced for Pastor Jack Hayford

    3. “How Firm a Foundation” by Robert Keen (1787)

    How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
    is laid for your faith in God's excellent Word!
    What more can be said than to you God hath said,
    to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

    "Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
    for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
    I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
    upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

    "When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
    the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
    for I will be near thee, thy troubles to bless,
    and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

    "When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
    my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
    the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine. 

    "The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
    I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
    that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake."

    Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Nicola Margaret

  • Man holding a hymnbook and singing

    4. “Jesus Lives and So Shall I” by Christian F. Geller ( 1757)

    Jesus lives, and so shall I; Death, thy sting is gone forever!
    He who deigned for me to die
    lives, the bands of death to sever.
    He shall raise me with the just:
    Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

    Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
    and, His kingdom still remaining,
    I shall also be with Him,
    ever living, ever reigning.
    God has promised: be it must:
    Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

    Jesus lives, and God extends
    grace to each returning sinner;
    rebels He receives as friends
    and exalts to highest honor.
    God is True as He is Just;
    Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

    Jesus lives, and by His grace,
    vict'ry o'er my passions giving,
    I will cleanse my heart and ways,
    ever to His glory living.
    Me He raises from the dust;
    Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

    Jesus lives! I know full well
    nought from Him my heart can sever,
    life nor death nor pow'rs of hell,
    joy nor grief, henceforth forever.
    None of all His saints is lost;
    Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

    Jesus lives, and death is now
    but my entrance into glory.
    Courage, then, my soul, for thou
    hast a crown of life before thee;
    thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
    Jesus is the Christian's Trust.

    Photo courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Sonja Filitz

  • a Piano, Chinese Communist authorities raid a Christian music school and arrest its principal

    5. “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” by John Newton (1779)

    Glorious things of thee are spoken,
    Zion, city of our God.
    He whose Word cannot be broken
    formed thee for His own abode.
    On the Rock of Ages founded,
    what can shake thy sure repose?
    With salvation's walls surrounded,
    thou may'st smile at all thy foes.

    See, the streams of living waters,
    springing from eternal love,
    well supply thy sons and daughters
    and all fear of want remove.
    Who can faint while such a river
    ever flows their thirst to assuage?
    Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
    never fails from age to age.

    'Round each habitation hov'ring,
    see the cloud and fire appear
    for a glory and a cov'ring,
    showing that the Lord is near.
    Thus deriving from their banner
    light by night and shade by day,
    safe they feed upon the manna
    which He gives them on their way.

    Savior, since of Zion's city<
    I through grace a member am,
    let the world deride or pity,
    I will glory in Thy name.
    Fading is the worldling's pleasures,
    all his boasted pomp and show;
    solid joys and lasting treasures
    none but Zion's children know.

    Photo courtesy: Denny Muller/Unsplash

  • Sheet music, The Story Behind Handel’s Messiah

    6. “For All the Saints” by William Walsham How (1864)

    For all the saints who from their labors rest,
    who Thee by faith before the world confessed;
    Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
    Alleluia, Alleluia!

    Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
    Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
    Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
    Alleluia, Alleluia! 

    O blest communion, fellowship divine!
    We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
    yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
    Alleluia, Alleluia! 

    And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
    steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
    and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
    Alleluia, Alleluia!

    But then there breaks a still more glorious day:
    the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
    the King of glory passes on His way.
    Alleluia, Alleluia!

    From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
    through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
    in praise of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
    Alleluia, Alleluia! 

    Keller is survived by his wife, Kathy, and their three sons, David, Michael and Jonathan.


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    Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.