MWM: And then there was another

[This is an installment in the erstwhile, periodic Monday Worship Music series.  Other, related posts are here.]

About two days after I wrote the last MWM post (12/1) about “heaven songs,” I stole away to a music cupboard . . . and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a line of 21 dust-gathering songbooks, with the Michael Card book bringing up the rear?

So I pulled out that last book and played through a couple songs.  Then there was this song.  This is a special song for me, and I hadn’t heard it in a couple years.  It speaks worthily of “heaven,” yes . . . but this song deals more with a biblically accurate depiction of deity and the “new Jerusalem,” which is not an actual city or location.  I wanted to share some of the words.

The New Jerusalem
Words and Music by Michael Card
© 1996 Word Music/Mole End Music

I saw the Holy City descending from the sky,
So brilliant with the light of God — the city is His Bride.
There is no temple in this town; no sun, no moon, no lamp,
For God’s own glory is its light, illuminated by the Lamb.

And God Himself will wipe the tears from every weeping eye.
No death, no pain, no mourning cry, and every tear made dry

CHORUS:
And now our God will dwell with them —
The new Jerusalem
And He Himself will walk with them —
The new Jerusalem

The song moves me so.  I didn’t make it through playing the 2nd verse, captivated as I was by the 1st and the chorus.   I searched for YouTube videos, but those recordings I found had adorned the original, utterly biblical lyrics with distracting visuals.

A final meditation

Whether the disillusionment or dejection or simple sadness is caused by something external or internal . . .

May all weeping eyes look to the God Who will wipe them dry and Who dwells with us now and forever.

MM: Sing to me of __________

It’s Monday, and this is about music.  Thus the “MM.”

If you’re a CofCer with more than 10 years of history in the “fellowship,”¹ you can likely complete the phrase “Sing to me of ______” subconsciously.  The word that goes in the blank is “heaven,” because of a song that’s been popular in many congregations — particularly those in the South and those influenced by southern transplants.

But “Sing to Me of Heaven” — like “The New Song” in its topical area — doesn’t really do much of what it talks about.  These are both indirect song-offerings that ostensibly point to other songs that actually do the important stuff.

Below are some thoughts from some of the most inspiring heaven- or eternity-related songs I know.  This is by no means an all-time “dream team” listing, but I hope you’ll agree that there are some uniquely worthwhile thoughts here.  Most of this was typed from memory.

One sweetly solemn thought comes to me o’er and o’er:  today I’m nearer to my home than e’er I’ve been before.  – P. Cary

If I weep, let it be as a man who is longing for his home.  – R. Mullins

O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee.  – H. B. Stowe

Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God.  J. Newton

Lo!  What a glorious sight appears to our believing eyes!
How long, dear Savior, oh, how long, shall this bright hour delay?
Fly swifter ’round, ye wheels of time, and bring the welcome day.  – I. Watts

The hour is hast’ning on when we shall be forever with the Lord.  – K. von Schlegel

Soon His beauty we’ll behold.  – E. Hewitt

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend. . . .  H.G. Spafford

This MM / “Monday Music” thing is not really a series anymore, but it used to be.  You can find more of them here.

================

¹By “fellowship,” we typically don’t mean to imply partnership and togetherness, as suggested by most instances of the Greek koinonia.  Typically, we mean “denomination,” whether we can admit it or not.

Another time and place

In my experience, there have been far too many cheap songs about heaven.  For me, the notions of God as schoolmarm calling the roll, and of heaven as “the land beyond the river” and as the place where there are “no more tears” and such simply don’t do justice to our our promised afterlife.  I’m more engaged by songs that call attention to God at the center, such as in the timeless pictures given in Revelation.

Sandy Patti made this song somewhat popular several years ago, and it still inspires me (emphases mine, but also somewhat inherent in the musical setting!):

I’ve always heard there is a land
Beyond the mortal dreams of man
Where every tear will be left behind
But it must be in another time
There’ll be an everlasting light
Shining a purest holy white
And every fear will be erased
But it must be in another place

I’ve grown so tired of earthly things
They promise peace but furnish pain
All of life’s sweetest joys combined
Could never match those in another time
And though I’ve put my trust in Christ
And felt His Spirit move in my life
I know it’s truly just a taste
Of His glory in another place

So, I’m waiting for another time and another place
Where all my hopes and dreams will be captured
With one look at Jesus’ face

Oh, my heart’s been burnin’
My soul keeps yearnin’
Sometimes I can’t hardly wait
For that sweet, sweet someday
When I’ll be swept away
To another time and another place