I note the allusion to "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes"--"If heaven was a tear, it'd be my last one."
My "Songs to Die For" series started here, with "Poor, Wayfarin' Stranger," almost a year and a half ago now. They don't have their own label. I probably should give them one, but for now they are scattered among the "hymns" and "songs that are not hymns" label. They are (almost) all songs related to death or heaven.
"If Heaven" has several unexpectedly profound things in it. For example, there is the verse that begins, "If Heaven was a pie it would be cherry," which hardly seems like a promising beginning. But then there is this line: "And just one bite would satisfy your hunger/And there'd always be enough for everyone." Which reminded Eldest Daughter, when she heard it, of the following section of Dante:
"It is because your desires are fixed where the part is lessened by sharing that envy blows the bellows to your sighs; but if the love of the highest sphere bent upward your longing, that fear would not be in your breast. For there, the more they are who say ours, the more of good does each possess and the more of charity burns in that cloister....That infinite and unspeakable good which is there above speeds to love as a sunbeam comes to a bright body; so much it gives of itself as it finds of ardour, so that the more charity extends the more does the eternal goodness increase upon it, and the more souls that are enamoured there above the more there are to be rightly loved and the more love there is and like a mirror the one returns it to the other." (Purgatorio, XV, 49ff, Virgil to Dante when they leave the terrace of the purgation of envy)
Or as Augustine says, "Truth ravishes all her lovers, yet is faithful to each."
I've just finished reading The Last Battle to Youngest Daughter, so heaven has been on my mind a good deal. When "If Heaven" connects heaven with earthly joys--finding the people you love alive, your home town, the best memories of childhood--I am reminded of this passage in The Last Battle. Professor Digory is speaking first:
"You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream."...It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right forehoof on the ground and neighed and then cried: "I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this."Like, and yet unlike, the joys of this earth. As Lewis says in The Great Divorce, everything good that dies will be resurrected, but it must die first.
Oh, and while we're at it, when I put up my post last year on B. J. Thomas's "Home Where I Belong," it was not available on Youtube (or I didn't know how to find it). But it is now. And so as a bonus, here it is, too.
I wish they could play that one at my funeral.
Hebrews 11:13-16, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off...and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country...But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city."