As someone who has always loved music and occasionally belts out a ballad or two, the idea of singing praises to God for eternity hits a good note with me. Recently a discussion came about at a Bible study I attend. We were talking about worship and praise and someone commented that she thought only singing was true worship. Now, truly we know that music and singing is a predominant way of worshiping our Lord. But, I protested, I believe there are also other ways we can worship Him. One way is through our service, another is in our prayers and sometimes it’s just by being quiet and still, listening to His quiet voice. Besides, I said, there are lots of folks who can’t carry a tune and their singing would be more of a loud clanging to the ears of the Lord, not to mention a little distracting to others. No! My friend protested. Singing is the only true way to worship. Not wanting to be argumentative I conceded that I sometimes sing in the wrong key and my own husband occaionally hits an incorrect note or two while singing praises, yet, I’m sure it blesses the Lord that he sings from his heart.
Later that day, I remembered something from an experience several years earlier. My family and I were in Israel on a tour with our pastor and 48 others. At some point during our site-seeing we all gathered inside a simple little chapel named “St. Anne’s.” Other travelers entered and sat alongside bringing the number to about 90 or so. Our guide, Gila, a very knowledgeable and gifted Jewish woman, joined us inside as well.
We all began to sing simple praise songs to the Lord and in that moment it seemed a miracle happened. The sound of our praise rose up to the ceiling and beyond the walls of the chapel. Our voices seemed to be transformed into an angelic concert to the Lord. Now, I’m quite sure that there were at least a handful of people in that chapel who weren’t “gifted” in the area of singing, yet this was the most beautiful singing I’d ever heard. And I’ve heard lots of beautiful music in my life and participated in several excellent choirs. Then, I glanced over at our guide Gila. Tears were glistening in her eyes. She too, was clearly touched and perhaps like the rest of us sensed that we had experienced a glimpse of what heaven was like.
So, as I pondered that experience, it occurred to me that perhaps our heavenly experience will be a lot like that time at St Anne’s chapel. When we enter that heavenly cathedral, the miraculous acoustics will carry our worshipful songs throughout God’s vast and glorious throne room. In that moment we will all have angelic voices that beautifully praise and worship the Lord for all eternity- whether or not we have musical talent here on earth. So therefore, it’s probably a good idea to at least start practicing down here till that day comes, no matter how “off” we may sound sometimes.
Stained glass window in the Rijksmuesum in Amsterdam
photographed by Iris Carignan 2016