Did you ever wonder where music got it’s power? It’s completely beyond any other media in it’s ability to stick with us. You don’t drive down the road reciting lines from a movie or a book – you hum a tune. It’s also able to stick in our subconscious indefinitely. I can’t tell you specifically what my class schedule was my senior year of high school, but I can perfectly replicate in my head the saxophone rif of a Huey Lewis song that I haven’t heard in twenty years, and I can even find the emotions that might have been connected to that sound at the time. Sound is unique in it’s ability to hypercontextualize.
I think it’s because sound is the most achievable piece of the throne room. Of all that goes on in God’s presence, it’s the only thing we can relate to with certainty.
When we read John’s description of the throne room of God, it’s wild. In fact, what he saw was so wild that we don’t know exactly what it was. Bewildered by his vision, he repeatedly uses the word “Like”. He tries to describe things, but words escape him, so everything becomes analogous.
It’s like a jasper stone…
“So you saw a jasper stone?”
No, but it was like one….and I saw a sea of glass like crystal….
“You saw a crystal sea?”
Not exactly, but something like it. Then, I saw living creatures like a lion, like a calf, like a man, like an eagle…
John doesn’t have the words because there was no earthly equivalency. Without an exact equal, he resorts to using similes. Like…like….like. Because we don’t know exactly what he saw, it would be impossible to recreate any of it. Do you honestly think you could paper mache something based on his description and get close enough to reality to make John say “Oh, yes, it was like that!”
There is one thing he describes, however, that we could attempt to recreate.
Day and night, they do not rest, saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”
The rhythmic chant of worship around the throne is not referred to as ‘like‘ something. It’s not compared to something. It’s described. In this clarity, while it is wholly other-worldly, it is doable.
We may not be able to see what John saw but we can do what he heard. The sights of heaven may be more than we can fathom, but the sounds of heaven can at the very least be attempted.
Sound – worship, song, lyric – moves our spirit because it moves the heart of God. And when we make our own sound to Him, it draws His attention to us like a foreigner is drawn to someone trying to speak their own language. There is no better time than now to train your voice and your heart to sing the songs sung to the Lamb at the end of the age.
It’s the piece of heaven you can do.
Adapted from my notes for the Kingdom Come Alaska conference last weekend. Full audio coming soon.
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