When I was growing up in The Salvation Army there were certain songs that we did not usually sing in the Sunday morning service (“Holiness Meeting”). We sang those songs instead in the more rambunctious Sunday night service (“Salvation Meeting”). One such song was “When We All Get to Heaven.” This promise of eternity’s joy was sung in an exuberant 4/4 time, with band accompaniment and much clapping when we got to the chorus: When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus we’ll sing and shout the victory.
But recently I heard a different version of “When We All Get to Heaven.” This one, with the same lyrics and tune for the chorus, but with poignant verses composed by Matt Redman, was part of the prayer and praise livestream that is my nightly refuge, “Close of Day in Lent.” It’s a wonderful way to end the night, (try it: on either YouTube or Facebook at 10PM ET!).
Pastor Jeff Ling, the leader of Close of Day, sang this very different take on “When We All Get to Heaven.” And I’m not John on the island of Patmos, but I did have a vision of a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.
As Jeff sang:
One day You’ll make everything new, Jesus
One day You will bind every wound.
The former things shall all pass away
No more tears.
I imagined underground church pastors from North Korea and China, brutalized and tortured in prison camps, with the King wiping away their tears as their new, eternal bodies radiated the glory of God.
The song continues:
One day You’ll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear.
Think about Nigerian believers laying their martyrs’ crowns at Christ’s feet. They will no longer be afraid that their children will be abducted by Boko Haram, no longer fear being trafficked far from home, no longer be bewildered by the painful question of why Christians were murdered with impunity and their cries were met with indifference.
Then the song promises:
One day we will see face to face, Jesus.
Is there a greater vision of Grace?
And in a moment we shall be changed
On that day.
On that day there will be Christians from India no longer seeing the rage-filled faces of Hindu radicals, there will be Christians from the Middle East no longer seeing the horrors of ISIS and al Qaeda, but instead they will see the beautiful, love-filled countenance of their Savior. They will see the joy-filled faces of the great cloud of witnesses cheering their entrance into Glory.
The song ends:
And one day we’ll be free, free indeed, Jesus
One day all this struggle will cease
And we will see Your glory revealed
On that day.Song
One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)
No longer struggling just to survive. The struggle that has been the daily experience of Christians in Pakistan against Muslim men targeting Christian girls; against irrational and arbitrary blasphemy accusations; and against angry, violent mobs will cease. Christian families condemned to slavery in Pakistan’s brick kilns will be free, free indeed.
When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. We all long for Jesus, the Messiah, to come. We all long for a new Heaven and a new Earth with no more suffering or death. We all long for the final victory of God’s righteousness and justice over evil. The Psalm in today’s lectionary, Psalm 16, is another promise of how we are held by God:
I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; My flesh also dwells secure.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol Or let Your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of Life;
In Your presence there is fulness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.Psalm 16: 8-11
and what He has in store for us, His Bride, from every tribe and tongue and nation.
To Do During the Second Week of Lent: Use one of the links in the devotions to watch/listen to Matt Redman's song, praying for persecuted Christians around the world. Pray for the Christians of North Korea, China, Nigeria, India, the Middle East, and Pakistan during the week, referring back to Open Door's World Watch List 2021 for information. As you read the Lectionary and the scriptures in this week's Daily Office include suffering brothers and sisters into praying those scriptures. And finally. . .
Coming this week: An Easter Project – An opportunity to give an Easter offering in celebration of our Resurrected Lord and our resurrection life in Him by supporting Herz Werk, a ministry based in Europe, that reaches out to those enslaved in the scourge of human trafficking.