While exiled on the isle of Patmos, John was transfixed by the Holy Spirit into a vision of celestial precincts. Stunned by the grandeur of heavenly worship, the apostle confused an angelic emissary with the sovereign author (Rev 19:10; 22:8). Artists have fashioned fanciful renditions of the spectacle since the middle ages. More elusive, however, is the music that the Seer heard. Questions linger about the melodies, harmonies, and cadence emanating from the myriad of myriads. Regarding the instruments, however, we have an idea.
The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (5:8)
I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder… like the sound of harpists harping on their harps. (14:2)
Music links the Word and worship. John heard the Word of God, roaring like river rapids. He witnessed pure adoration in a symphony of songs with refrains about the Lamb—slain, worthy, living, ruling. For John, it was new, yet familiar.
In temple and synagogue, high caliber musicians held the strings, while the rest blew bugles and flutes, or banged drums and tambourines. Even singers adept in complicated scores followed the inflected resonance of lyres.
Common experience tells us that music is the universal language. Helpful for focus and handy for instruction, good music packages the divine message with accents that appeal and compel.
From prison, Paul penned a reminder for believers in the tri-city area of Colossae, that the gospel should be our constant focus, like a continual loop of a song.
Let the word of Christ reside richly in you, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom by means of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16)
Our weekly worship is lifted to heavenly heights by the well-rehearsed offerings of exceptional instrumentalists and dedicated singers. For three years, Matt Lane has encouraged with kindness, served with humility, and inspired with dignity. Consummate musician, choral leader, concert violinist—Matt helps us to sample the sounds of eternal glory.
Raise a song… the sweet sounding lyre with the harp. Psalms 81:2
With gratitude and appreciation, we join in celebration for the all-too-brief tenure of Matt Lane at ABC. The reception and program begin at 5:01 pm in the Family Life Center on Sunday evening, June 9.