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Location: Midwest, United States

Favorite smells: mown hay, turned earth, summer rain, line-dried laundry

30 March 2007

Glimpsing Glory

Sometimes God cracks open heaven’s door and we glimpse glory.

A ray gleamed recently for my husband and me when we participated for the first time in the Southeast Iowa Church Choir Festival.

The Festival was the ultimate interactive experience. A 200-member choir sang psalms and hymns, accompanied at various times by a piano, an organ, a brass quartet, and the audience. The choir consisted of singers from many churches as well as a large choir from the local Christian high school. On two numbers, the high school choir sang antiphonally from the balcony at the back with the church choir at the front.

Feeble words cannot capture the sense of divine glory present in the praise.

Engaging in beautiful praise exuberantly offered by hundreds of people was awesome in the best sense of the word—filling us with awe for our great God!

Director Dale Grotenhuis encapsulated the experience when he said after one awe-inspiring song, “I know this is something that’s said so often that it’s almost become a cliché, but this really is a foretaste of heaven.”

It really is. A foretaste is a first taste, a slight experience of something to be enjoyed in the future.

Wholeheartedly praising God with hundreds of others is like standing in a beam of glory from heaven’s door. It’s a brief glimpse into our glorious future of perfect praise and worship of the Lamb. Bathed in that brief ray, we begin to divine divinity.

Such praise is not a mere appetizer; it’s partaking in the eternal song. The sacred and sacramental song that began at creation, continues this very moment on earth and in heaven, and will be sung in fullness when Christ’s kingdom comes in all its glory.

In His Word, God gives us sheet music for the eternal song.

The morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy when God created the world (Job 38:7). When I rise early and watch the stars shimmer in the dark winter sky, I hear the eternal echo.

Moses sang the song. As did David; and Mary, and Zechariah, and Simeon. The song resounds every Lord’s Day in worship that reverberates around the world. The eternal song whispers in the persecuted Christian’s prayers echoing off bare walls of cold cell; it lilts in the child’s voice singing Sunday school songs at play; it crescendos in the choir anthems ringing against vaulted ceilings of cathedrals. When I hold my husband’s hand in church as we sing corporate praise to God, I feel its pulse.

But we on this “sad earth” only feebly hear the echo; we only faintly feel the pulse. The primary song exists and exults in heaven.

There the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing a new song to the Lamb who is worthy (Rev. 5:8-10). Thousands upon thousands of angels encircle the throne to rejoice, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev. 5:12).

Then the eternal song expands to encompass “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them” as every created thing sings: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13).

Finally the eternal song comes full circle. Those who have been victorious stand before the sea of glass and fire, holding harps and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed” (Rev. 15:2-4).

When we catch a glimpse of that eternal glory, we briefly bask in a shaft of heavenly light that pierces our hearts and awakens within our dull senses a longing for the beauty and unity of our eternal home. A home reverberating with praise as saints sing in perfect harmony, in perfect worship, of our perfect Lord.

While we sing with Moses to the Lord, who is our dwelling place (Psalm 90:1), we anticipate our heavenly abode. Our dwelling place will be Immanuel.

Let all in His temple cry, “Glory!” (Psalm 29:9).


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