Published in the Community Chronicle in the June, 2020 edition and the Rains County Leader on June 23, 2020:
Last year, our front porch began to list to the southeast. Investigation showed that the support post on that corner was rotting away. We discussed our options with a local handyman, and several months and several thousand dollars later, we had a beautiful covered porch furnished with an indoor/outdoor rug, two padded rocking chairs and a comfy glider for two. We have spent many happy hours on our new addition, especially during this time of social distancing when God has blessed us with a lot of porch-sitting weather.
One morning, I was rocking and reading when I was distracted by a birdsong I didn’t recognize. It sounded like someone had pressed a key on a synthesizer and held it for a couple of seconds. The song continued for a minute or two with brief breaks between notes, but I was never able to find the singer. While I was looking for him, I noticed another bird singing what could have been a riff from a doo-wop song. I closed my book for a while and just listened, and I heard more birdsongs than I could count.
As I listened, I began thinking about Heaven – maybe because I had been reading the Bible and maybe because, at my age, Heaven seems closer every day. Regardless of why, I thought about what Heaven will be like, specifically what the music will be like. First, it seems like there will be a lot of it which, since I am a music lover, sounds wonderful to me. I’ve often wondered if the place Jesus is preparing for me will include a grand piano and if I will be able to play it with ease instead of with the struggles I’ve experienced on Earth. I also wonder if my voice will be stronger and more in tune without that croaking sound when I go from the lower notes to the higher ones.
But beyond myself, I’ve wondered what worship music will be like. I don’t think we’ll be floating on clouds and plucking harp strings all the time, because I’ve been taught that we’ll have work to do. It will be work that we enjoy, but it will be work nonetheless. Still, if the Seven Dwarfs can whistle while they work, we should be able to sing while we work. I picture something like the flash mobs that are sometimes posted on Facebook where orchestras and choruses break into song in a public place.
I also wonder what language we’ll speak and sing in Heaven. Some people who know more about these things than I do believe we’ll all speak the same language, a Heavenly language known only by God and the angels now. But others think we will speak the same language we speak in this life but that, like the Day of Pentecost, we will be able to understand each other. All I know is that the Book of Revelation says there will be people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation in Heaven, and if we’re all singing in different languages, the sound will be very confusing if not downright discordant.
At least that’s what I’ve always thought until that morning on the front porch listening to the birdsong. Each bird had its own song, and it sang regardless of what the bird on the next branch was singing. The effect wasn’t discordant or confusing at all. It was beautiful as each bird sang the song God had given it. I sat for a long time, listening to God’s Choir while the trees rustled in the wind as background percussion and neighborhood dogs added a few staccato notes now and then. I wondered how much more harmonious this world would be if we focused on the song we’ve been given and left it up Him to blend it with the songs He’s given to others.