I took this picture on Monday, when I couldn’t stop thinking about Johnny for no apparent reason.
I left work early, and I almost didn’t stop. But then I did. I got out and walked around and yelled at the dirt and the sky.
I took these pictures to remember what this place looked like at this particular moment. We are working on finalizing his headstone, so this wooden cross won’t be here forever.
I looked at this picture over and over since, and that tree, to the left: it is so overwhelming. It is incredible to stand under, breathing in its sap. Johnny would have loved this tree, no doubt. That massive pine.
But then I looked at it again, and suddenly the third verse of “In Christ Alone” came to my mind:
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again.
How the disciples – how Mary – must have felt when Jesus’ body was in that grave for three days. They thought it was over. It was sealed. It was done. Cut down in his prime, at the height of his ministry. I now understand how they felt.
I love that song, “In Christ Alone.” It has the weight and subject matter of an old hymn. In fact, I often look for it when flipping through my antique hymnals. But it was written in 2001, though timeless as it already is.
That got me thinking about the music in Heaven. Do you think there are songs they sing in Heaven that we don’t know yet? Were they singing “In Christ Alone” in the presence of God before it was shared with us here on earth?
What is the music like in Heaven, anyway? I often pictured numerous languages and styles being played over each other, but are there even lyrics? Or melodies? Or is it so overwhelming, the love, that it just bursts out, incomprehensible? Or is it silent, with the sound of future, endless, eternal glory and magnificence ever-approaching, humming in the distance, but barely audible at all.
I have never had to consider Heaven the way I have in the last three months. I have never considered with this depth what happens to those who die and didn’t profess and believe in the name of Jesus; that was unspeakable.
But I think about it now. I think about how everything I think about Heaven is probably wrong. I think about what pop culture says of heaven: a field of puppies and endless ice cream without gaining weight. I think about how pathetic our versions of eternal Glory are.
To be honest, I’m frustrated by Heaven. I’m frustrated at how idolatrous humans are that we conceive the notion of paradise as completely revolving around ourselves. And every time I think I’ve figured something out, and feel a little connected to Johnny because of it, I instantly rebuke myself, knowing I am wrong.
Deborah, your mind is so small compared to God’s wonder. You can’t even imagine it.
I think I’m wrong right now. I think this is a huge stumbling block for me at the moment and the Deceiver is exploiting my curiosity. I know the Lord wants to draw us close to Himself, but my demand and desire for perfection first is getting in the way.
I know all of this, and yet, I still can’t stop thinking what the music is like in Heaven.
– D. E. Barbi Bee