Truly, I do. Love is not too strong a word to use in expressing my emotional response to the trifceta of acting, singing, and dancing. I love the spontaneous song-bursts. I love the choreographed numbers. Mostly though, I love the way that suddenly singing and dancing through life, no matter the circumstances, is so normal for the characters.
One moment a hero is lamenting his lot. Cue music, and the next moment, his faithful friend slash sidekick slash supporting tenor is singing encouragement, inspiring the will to move on, revealing the way to get there, and all but leaping his way down the path.
One moment a heroine is lost in the woods, or locked in a tower, or perched perilously on the edge of a cliff, or cornered by a villain, or just stuck in a rut. Cue music, and the next moment, she finds her wits, gets some gumption, sticks it to the villain, and triumphantly takes the next step on her proverbial journey. (Or, said hero might come and rescue her . . . but that doesn’t always happen.)
One moment it’s just a normal day and all the normal people are milling through their very normal lives. Cue music, and the next moment they are singing a four-part chorus number, dancing over their problems, and rediscovering passion and purpose. They grow, and consequently, everything else changes.
Stage or screen—it doesn’t matter. It gets me nearly every time. I sit in my seat, grinning and clapping like an idiot. Depending on the company, I might turn to my seatmate and pummel his or her arm in excitement. If the company is really good, then we may stand up and do a little dance ourselves. Or (full and complete disclosure) I sit all by myself in the dark, tears streaming down my face.
I believe musicals inspire such an emotional response in so many people because they are a picture of the world we will inhabit when heaven comes to earth. All that music, and all that drama, and all that great, big, get-on-your-feet-whistle-and-shout joy is just a taste of the unending music and drama in store for those who are Christ-filled.
What leads me to such an over-the-top conclusion? The fact that the chorus is being sung right now. Right now, at the edge of a sea bright as crystal,God is on His throne, surrounded by a rainbow the color of emeralds, and He’s radiating deep, red firelight. A veritable storm of lighting and thunder surrounds Him, and voices pour out around Him. Lamps of fire burn before Him, and twenty-four crowned elders sit on thrones around Him. And four creatures, the likes of which we have never seen, surround Him. Those creatures never rest because, day and night, they say, “Holy! Holy!Holy! Is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Revelation 4, emphasis mine)
Now, I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling these six-winged, eye-covered creatures aren’t singing like they’re chorus extras. They fly in the presence of God, their eyes and feet covered because of His fiery, burning holiness! They’re only in His presence because they’re up to the task, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their voices echo to the far side of that great, shining sea.
Every time they bellow, the elders fall down and worship, casting their crowns at God’s feet, proclaiming, “You are worthy! To receive glory and honor and power! For You created all things!” And on and on and on it goes. Forever they shout and forever they fall because God is worthy of all worship and praise.
Yes . . . all that is taking place right now. But it doesn’t stop there. You see, more songs are written and more songs are sung as more of God’s children join Him in heaven. And, one day, we’ll all be there. Or rather, back here. On a new earth. Just think what the throne room will be like then. . . .
Millions and millions and millions of people. Every face radiant. Every person new. Look to the left and see row upon row of grand pianos. To the right—thousands and thousands and thousands of strings. Over there—countless African drums sounding so full and so deep you think your heart might shake right through your ribcage. Look over your shoulder. See all the bluegrass and jazz musicians? There have never been so many toes tapping at once. And just as you think it’s all settling in . . . do you hear that? Entire brigades of bagpipe players are making their way across the sparkling ocean, while behind them dancers twirl and kick and stomp and leap as they only ever dreamed they could.
Okay, sure. I don’t have such specifics in writing. I certainly haven’t seen it like the Apostle John. But when I stop and think about everyone there together, every single one of God’s children fully whole and fully known as they were always intended to be, and all because of our Father and his Son and what they have done to bring the world to this point. . . . When I think about it like that, it’s not hard for me to imagine that the throne room of heaven will look and sound and feel like the greatest musical production the world has ever known!
There has never been so much light, or music, or life, or joy in one place as there will be in that place on the day we first gather together before God. When we all look around, look at each other, and look at our Father and King, I don’t think we’ll be able to help but sing.
Who even knows? Once we’ve started, we may never want to stop singing our reprise of praise to Jesus—the Eternal One worthy of an eternal encore.
Annie Provencher is a writer living in Virginia.
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