The most profound emotions, the deepest experiences of the human spirit may be evoked by the sound of a heavenly choir.
There has often been debate about which is the greatest musical instrument. And of course each of us will have different favourites. It has been said, for instance, that the grand pipe organ is “the King of Instruments”.
But I believe the greatest musical instrument is the human voice.
As I listened to Barber’s Agnus Dei, and Allegri’s Miserere Mei float through the church, I heard with new ears, and saw with new eyes. I’ve been going to this church for 14 years and had not previously realised quite how beautiful it is. The power of the music had opened up not only the sense of hearing.
Why do we respond so instinctively to the sound of those voices? Because, I suggest, they give us a glimpse of eternity.
Whenever a film director wishes to evoke in the audience pity, grief and sorrow, or joy, bliss, peace and gladness, the best choice of background music is that provided by a heavenly choir.
In the first part of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, we find this used to good effect on several occasions.
When the Fellowship of the Ring meet Haldir of Lorien, we hear the first long sustained notes of those ethereal voices. The Lady of the Wood is waiting. The Lady Galadriel appears, and the voices of the heavenly choir crescendo.
In Lothlorien, again the massed voices are heard in the background, an aural tapestry evoking mystical power, visions, prophecy, wisdom, insight.
And at the end of the film, they are heard once more, immediately after Frodo has turned to his faithful companion and said, “Sam, I’m glad you’re with me.”
Here, the heavenly choir evokes values like love, loyalty, courage, determination, self-sacrifice.
In the bible we find these words: “God has written eternity on our hearts”.
I can affirm this by personal experience, again and again throughout my life.
Please share your thoughts on this. Have you too experienced the sublime through music? And do you too have a strong sense that God has written eternity on your heart?