Music and the Spoken Word

The Best Ships Are Friendships - Sunday, March 3, 2019

At the state funeral for former United States President George H. W. Bush in December 2018, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney ended the eulogy of his dear friend with these words: “There are wooden ships, there are sailing ships, there are ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”1

How else can we possibly expect to make it across life’s rough seas? Friendships make the voyage not only possible but also enjoyable. Among life’s richest blessings is friendship. And while the waves and winds may separate good friends for a time—even years—when they reunite, the time and distance fade almost instantly.

Perhaps you’ve had an experience similar to that of two dear friends who lost contact with each other. Many years and many miles later, one of them remembered and missed their bond of friendship, so he decided to take the initiative to find his friend. After decades apart, the friends reconnected, and the joyous reunion melted the years away. Their hearts filled with happiness and fond memories as they laughed together and shared tender feelings. It was as if they had never parted—as if they still lived in the same town and shared the same experiences.

Most of us can remember friends who have touched our lives for good over the years. Some of those friends may now be gone, but the memory of their love, example, and goodness can still lift and inspire us. The love and trust, the listening and caring, the shared time and experiences never really leave us, because they have made us who we are.

Although we may sometimes appear to be independently strong, no one crosses life’s waters alone. We need to have—and need to be—true friends. A meditation by the poet John Donne inspired these lyrics that capture an enduring truth:
No man is an island;
No man stands alone.
Each man’s joy is joy to me;
Each man’s grief is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.2

1 “Transcript: Brian Mulroney’s Eulogy for Former President George H. W. Bush,” CBS News, Dec. 6, 2018,
2 Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer, “No Man Is an Island”; based on John Donne, “Meditation XVII,” in Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624), 108–9.
March 3, 2019
Broadcast Number 4,668

The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Richard Elliott

Lloyd Newell

I Think the World Is Glorious
Alexander Schreiner; arr. Mack Wilberg

If the Savior Stood beside Me
Sally DeFord; arr. Sam Cardon

Hornpipe, from Water Music
George Frideric Handel; arr. Carl McKinley

O Light of Life!
Mack Wilberg

No Man Is an Island
Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer; arr. Michael Davis

On a Wonderful Day like Today
Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley; arr. Sam Cardon

Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah
John Hughes; arr. Mack Wilberg