Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Heaven is a Wonderful Place...

So Jay's funeral was last Thursday. Except for the soloist who only just barely kept it together (yes, me), it was rockin' - literally. It started out with some of his favorite (rockin') praise songs, mellowed out in the middle for the sermon, and ended with one of his favorite Christian punk songs, followed by a song (sans words) written by two of his brothers and the boy who was driving. For not having any screaming, it was about as punk/core as you can get, and I'm sure it surprised a few of the older folks who came....but I and others could just see Jay rocking out with them.

Discussion afterward with my mom (she, Link, and Elianna came up for the funeral) prompted her to say that, despite her being labeled as "charismatic" when I was a child because she didn't say that it was abhorrent to God for people to raise their hands while praising...she still just didn't see heaven including music like what she'd just witnessed.

I just sorta laughed, because I didn't really know what to say. Being one whose music selection is extremely mood-based, and ranges from children's music to rap, and the heavier side of rock and everything in between, with healthy sides of 40s swing and "classical" (and an appreciation for well-done music of other styles), I could see how their song was worshipful...but I also "grok" plain hymns with piano/organ. I think heaven will get on my nerves (kinda like the local Christian radio stations), personally, if I don't get doses of all of them from time to time.

So in thinking about it over the last couple of days, I've come to this conclusion. On the day of Pentecost, when Peter was preaching and 3000 were saved, the Bible says that each "heard in their own language." It doesn't say that Peter spoke in tongues (as some would have you believe, although, Biblically, there's a place for that too...it just didn't happen on that occasion that we know of)...it says that each individual person _HEARD_ in his or her own language. So the French guy standing next to you would have heard in French, while the Arab woman behind you would have heard in Arabic what Peter was saying in...Greek? I dunno. Whatever language he was speaking in.

I think Heaven will be like that. The "Heavenly language" won't be Spanish as our Hispanic pastor (jokingly) says...it'll be more like Farscape's translator microbes where everyone speaks their own language and everyone else just understands it. And the music won't be one particular style that every tribe and nation will suddenly agree on....you'll hear what works best for you....so someday my mom can be standing next to Jay as he headbangs, and can sing her alto straight from the hymnal with an orchestra, and both of them will _HEAR_ in their own (musical) language.

And it won't just be music either. A Christian artist/speaker that I know often asks "when did 'worship' become a genre of music?" To worship someone is to bring attention to them for what they are or have done. We are always worshiping someone/something - it's just human nature. Often its ourselves....sometimes it's someone like Michael Jackson or the Beatles or a thing like money. But worshiping God doesn't necessarily include music at all. I think in Heaven, there will also be painters and sculptors and engineers and teachers and preachers and lawn mowers and chefs who are doing their jobs in such a way as to say how amazing God is.

So while Jay and my mom are rocking out, there'll be someone next to them that they will see as worshiping in their respective ways, but who will actually be gardening and seeing them garden too. And God won't see (or hear) any of it, because the form of the worship is irrelevant....He'll see/hear what's coming from our hearts as we praise and worship Him in our own ways.

But that's just my opinion/imagination. Jay knows for sure.

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