In FocusMagazine

the language of heaven

Swanson_CommSueWe sang in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

I was with a group of tourists. We were a homogenous group, all Salvation Army church members from the Midwestern United States. A tour of Israel brought us to the Garden, where we enjoyed a lovely devotional. Our voices rang out in American English. We could also hear other tour groups singing in French, German, Portuguese, Hindi, and more. That afternoon, I often heard people say, “This is what Heaven will sound like!”

In this edition of SAConnects, we’re going global, covering the work of U.S.A. Eastern Territory Salvationists who’ve ministered abroad. I look forward to reading about what we, as North Americans, have learned about the Spirit’s breathing in other countries and cultures.

Traveling to other nations (40 within the last ten years) and participating in the ministry of The Salvation Army, has stretched my life. I’ve received so much—wonderful hospitality, indigenous food, inspiration from musical expression in all forms, strength from personal faith stories, and spiritual depth through prayer.

Now, back to the Garden of Gethsemane.

Is such singing really what Heaven will sound like? Will nations be clumped together, sorted by nationality and language and church affiliation? I think not.

The glory will be that we’ll realize the almighty Father and the transcendent Christ and become one just as they are One. We’ll sing in the language of Heaven, in the tongue of Love. “In a loud voice they sang ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” (Revelation 5:12). And that will be what Heaven sounds like.

I only wish I had time to talk about the instruments of the Kingdom—strings or brass?

—  Commissioner Sue E. Swanson
Territorial President of Women’s Ministries

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