Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Music of the Spheres

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 57:7-8

Music fills me. It is in my head from the time I wake up until I go to bed at night. I think I'll have to blame my mother. She has a song for everything - for every occasion, for any circumstance. I remember a trip our family took, one year, from Arizona to the midwest, to the East Coast and back. I think my mom sang the whole way - and never repeated a song. She learned to play the guitar when we were growing up. That guitar and singing around the fire are the basis of my favorite memories from camping - with just our family and with others. Visits to my mother's family always included pulling out the guitars and singing. I have some very talented relatives. I remember doing dishes with my sisters and playing a game. One of us would start a song, the game was to interrupt with a different song - if you repeated, you lost. Yes, it got a little noisy in our kitchen...

As we grew older, my sisters and I sang in choruses and choirs. We sang in church. We took piano and played and sang. Music filled our home.

Yesterday, I was struck by a section from the book Tuck Everlasting. The plot involves a choice - to drink or not to drink from a fountain of youth. The writing is excellent - luxurious even - full of the kind of figurative language a reader can really savor. There's a section where one of the characters is trying to explain why everlasting life would not be a blessing. It's that circle of life speech, but done in pieces. It creeps up on the reader. The final realization that death is part of life comes to the main character, a young girl, through the wise words of Tuck:

Your time's not now. But dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing. But it's passing us by, us Tucks. Living's heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it's useless, too. It don't make sense. If I knowed how to climb back on the wheel, I'd do it in a minute. You can't have living without dying....I want to grow again...and change.                           
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Bear with me.  So, the passage had me thinking... as Christians, we look forward to our heavenly life.  To life everlasting.  It made me wonder what heaven is going to actually be.  I mean, we've all heard the Bible stories - we will be made new, heavenly kingdom, hosts of angels, life everlasting - There it is again - the theme of the book, the theme of the bible... so I had to do some research.

I found an excellent article in "Christianity Today";  Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston University answered 35 of the most frequently asked questions about heaven.  You can read it here.  Yup, I read the whole thing.  I'll probably read it again - it's a lot to take in with one reading.  But here's what I found;  we won't be bored.  Unlike Tuck, we will be changing, growing for eternity, learning about God and one another in order to love more perfectly.  AND - there will be music!  I love this next quote - imagine the prose, poetry, and music of heaven if what we know in this world already moves us through the spectrum of human emotion...

Music, according to widespread tradition, was the first language, the language God spoke to create the universe. I strongly suspect there is more to this than we think. We usually think of music as ornamented poetry and of poetry as ornamented prose. But God is not prosaic. I think prose is fallen poetry and poetry fallen music. In the beginning was the "music of the spheres," and so it will be in the end.                

Peter Kreeft

Thank you, God, for music, for family, and for the promise of a heaven filled with both.

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