Tuesday, October 3, 2017
"Faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground."
Hymn: “Higher Ground” – Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922)
Tune: HIGHER GROUND
Carlita and I were once discussing how different world religions have certain very definite “rewards” waiting for them in their final life beyond the grave. Some are reserved only for the men, and some are very sexual in nature. These beliefs in an exact prize (or bevy of prizes!) provide quite the incentive for their extremists to martyr themselves. After a few minutes of silence, I said, “And all we have to look forward in the next life is singing!”
In all honesty, that is not a bad thing to anticipate: the privilege to “thus surround the throne” as we march through Zion, the beautiful city of God. For those of us who delight in few things any more than we enjoy congregational singing, it gives us reason to look forward to heaven.
This entire hymn deals with pressing on the upward way toward new heights gained daily, catching a glimpse of the brightness of Glory, and eventually planting our feet there.
One stanza has an almost depressing statement: “My heart has no desire to stay…” That’s a bit too close to a death-wish for my tastes; but in the next stanza comes today’s hymnline which says that my faith during this life has caught an aural-glimpse (I think I just made that up) of what the sound might be like when the saints gather on heaven’s shore, process around the throne, cast down their golden crowns as acts of worship, and join the endless song.
Off and on through my life, I think I have caught that joyful sound, and I have a high anticipation of linking myself with members of the heavenly throng who have been assigned a singing position… not because of their great singing ability, but because of their heart-felt song.
Do you hear the people sing?
[Those of you who wonder whatever possessed me to create and carry-out the Old Fashioned Singing Project and its theme “Heaven’s Front Porch” should be a little closer to understanding my madness!]