Heaven with Bach and Shakespeare . . !


TEARS of ecstasy rolled down my cheeks as I listened to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and as the choir thundered in German, ‘Deine Zauber binden wieder, Was die Mode streng geteilt. I sang along, ‘Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt!’The music slowly stopped, but tears kept flowing, such the beauty of the rendition, such the power of the composer. And as the ‘Ode to Joy’ kept resounding in my head, I wondered if this was how heaven would be!

“Bob!” shouts an angel, her wings swishing past me, “Bach is playing down the road!” Since I’m new to heaven I shout back, “You mean someone is playing Bach’s piece?” “No!” shouts the angel, “Bach’s doing a new composition,” and I fly along, my own wings swishing as I reach the German composer, and find him entertaining the heavenly audience with a composition he’s just written. And then I hear a telltale tap of hammer on stone, “That’s Michael at work!” whispers my new angel friend. “Michael who?” I ask. “Michael Angelo!” says the angel, “you should see his new masterpieces!” I do. I walk over and look with awe at figures the heavenly sculptor’s just carved, and paintings he is creating. Tears of joy flow down my cheeks.

And in the distance I hear the sound of voices, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, like actors learning their lines, “Shakespeare and his new work,” whispers the angel and I rush to the stage where the Bard of Avon, is putting final touches to his latest play, ‘Love’s Labour Won!’

I watch, awed by the bearded Bard as he directs angels who play their roles to near perfection. Alas, as I get used to heavenly art, my earthly brain brings me crashing back to earth. I remember I’d been listening to Beethoven, and his music had transported me to the heavenly realms, and rightly so. Because, I do believe that art in any form are glimpses of heaven.

An exquisite painting. A wonderful musical composition. A powerful story all open a window to joy. Through that painting, that piece of music or book, we get a glimpse of what awaits us.

I press the music button, and like a waterfall bursting forth, ‘Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy,’ fills my room, but instead of singing it in German, I sing the same in Henry Van Dyke’s version as a Hymn to Joy, and my voice rises up in praise to my Creator:

‘All Your works with joy surround You, Earth and Heaven reflect Your rays, Stars and angels sing around You, Center of unbroken praise; Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea, Chanting bird and flowing fountain, Praising You eternally!’

And that is what the beauty of art does, that is what those joyful tears of mine expressed; simple worship and praise for a Creator who gives us glimpses of an eternity with Him, enjoying Bach, Angelo, Rembrandt and Shakespeare..!