Do they sing "This Is the Feast" in heaven? In Richard Hillert's setting from the Lutheran Book of Worship?
The book of Revelation, the source of the text of the canticle (5:11-14), describes the words being sung in heaven, but it doesn't specify a tune. Handel's "Worthy is Christ" from the end of the Messiah is nice, but not really suitable for "myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands" to sing together with all the people of God.
Hillert's refrain can be sung by anyone and everyone, by four-year-olds, who really enjoy that upward leap of a major sixth on the voiced-V of victory. It is sung by Christians of many denominations, around the world, in unison with the organ, or with brass and descants blaring. It is sung at Easter and on Christ the King Sunday, and at funerals, when we need music to turn our hearts away from grief to see, to sense, the glorious light pouring forth from the open doors of Christ's kingdom.
So are they singing "This Is the Feast" in heaven today, in Hillert's presence? He died last Thursday, at the age of 86. Is he beaming as my sainted father, his friend, accompanies the heavenly choirs on the organ?
It's all a little silly to think about. The picture in my head makes me smile. But listen . . . .
"Sing with all the people of God, and join in the hymn of all creation: Blessing, honor, glory and might be to God and the Lamb, forever and ever."
A foretaste of the feast to come.
1923 - 2010
Funeral service at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 1, at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest Illinois