If you believe in forever / Then life is just a one-night stand
If there’s a rock-n-roll heaven / Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band
-The Righteous Brothers, “Rock and Roll Heaven”
I do believe in Forever, and I want to be in the band. I don’t know who all is going to be there, but I would love the opportunity to sing some gospel songs at the piano with Elvis… sit around jamming on guitars with John Lennon… harmonize in a duet with Mama Cass… see Louis Armstrong’s cheeks puff out like an angelic blowfish as he plays some heavenly jazz on a trumpet he borrows from Gabriel (“Let’s see dat horn, Gabe!”)
There will indeed be music in heaven (it’s a biblical fact), and I don’t think anything composed on this earth will compare. There may be some of the same songs, but they’ll be in a heightened state… something like a transistor radio compared to a high-end stereo system. We’ve heard 300-piece choirs… who hasn’t gotten chills from a brilliantly performed Handel’s Messiah… but no human being knows what millions of angels singing together in a chorus of joyful praise sounds like. (Though maybe the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night that first Christmas got a taste).
Sweet compensation / To help fill the hole / Descends like an angel / And speaks to my soul
-Tom Hipps, “Music, That Is” from the album The Road So Far
I hope we’ll have some of the same songs in heaven that we have on earth–maybe some songs go to heaven. (Which ones do or don’t would make for an interesting discussion…. It’s probably safe to assume “Highway to Hell“ won’t make the cut:) Perhaps there will be billions of songs to be enjoyed forever (an even better selection than Spotify), in every genre imaginable–even The Blues… somehow! There certainly shouldn’t be anything to feel blue about in heaven, but would we really be complete musically without The Blues? What then will B.B. King be singing up there??
New songs might forever be created in our eternal home, along with the tunes we loved here on earth. The key is, each and every tune will honor and glorify the Creator. After all, He created music and gave it to us as a gift, and is thrilled when we use it to honor him. The bible is overflowing with references to the composing and singing of songs. The Psalms ARE songs, every one of them, and just think… in heaven, we will likely hear the ORIGINAL MELODIES! I picture the composer of most of the Psalms–King David–in heaven, performing his repertoire of the most famous songs ever written. I can hear the crowd shouting out their requests: “23rd! Play the 23rd one!”
Will we sit captivated as Moses, in a roaring tenor, belts out the song he penned and sang to the Israelites when they had escaped the Egyptian soldiers by walking through the parted Red Sea on dry land?
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously / He’s thrown horse and rider into the sea / He is my strength and song / My victory!” (Exodus 15:1-2)
Perhaps we’ll sit at Mary’s feet as she regales us with the Magnificat–the song of praise she composed when she learned she was to be the mother of Jesus:
“Oh, how I praise the Lord / How I rejoice in God my savior! / For he took notice of his lowly servant girl / And now generation after generation will call me blessed” (Luke 1:46-48)
Can you imagine?
I have this fantasy: When I breathe my last, before we hit the Pearly Gates, I would love for Jesus and me to take in some concerts. I want him to take me to see Elvis in ‘55, the Beatles in ‘65, Elton John in ‘75. The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones, Led Zeppelin with John Bonham, AC/DC with Bon Scott, Queen with Freddie. Jim Morrison & The Doors, Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix shows would be pretty electric. Simon & Garfunkel when they were teenagers, just starting out. Jim Croce, John Denver. U2 at Red Rocks, Johnny Cash at San Quentin. Ray Charles, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra. Hank Williams in a hazy southern honky-tonk. Heck, I never got to see Tom Petty or Glen Campbell. Or… Beethoven! How crazy would it be to see a live Beethoven concerto with the master himself conducting!!
What the heck, it’s a fun fantasy… maybe Jesus will be up for it. In blue jeans and a concert T-shirt, he would blend right in at a rock show. And I’m sure he’s always got a backstage pass.
I’m hoping all my musical heroes have found heaven, because I want to enjoy their art, and their company, through eternity.
“I’m no good to you dead, am I? I can’t sing in your choir if I’m buried in some tomb.”
–David, in Psalm 13:6 (MSG)