Imagine this scene – A gathering of people from around the world coming together for one common purpose. There are multiple generations, ethnic groups and languages. Among this gathering are those who are infirmed, those who have been healed, and those who have vigorous health.
All those gathered are effusively joyful; smiling and talkative. Many have heard about others in attendance, perhaps read about them or communicated with them indirectly, but have never met them in person. The atmosphere is filled with questions like, “Where did you come from? How did you get here? What is it that brought you to this place? What was your journey like getting here? What do you think is going to take place? What are you looking forward to?” Many are sharing their testimony.
No one seems to be an outsider. The kindness of strangers is on display everywhere. Their common purpose elicits shared memories, facts, and events that build the anticipation of the gathering. As that anticipation grows there is an uneasy sense of awe.
The event begins to unfold, and there is palpable excitement. It seems that the breath of angels is charging the atmosphere. A whirlwind of activity is taking place. Light begins streaming in from every direction. A symphony of horns, strings, and percussion create a crescendo of sound as a choir of voices sing praises to One who is strong enough to save, One who gives new mercies each day, One who causes us to sing freedom’s song. Those gathered join in and sing along with praises about Jesus’ blood making the vilest sinner clean.
There are goose bumps, tears, smiles, hugs and stunned bewilderment. It was Heaven.
Then it ends.
Was it just a dream?
The scene described took place Sept. 1 – 2, 2017 in Cross Plains, TN. The event was Morsefest, a two-night concert performed by the Neal Morse Band and a host of guest musicians. This event was far more than a concert. It was a gathering of music fans who love Neal Morse; his music, his message, or both. Neal does not perform, he gives. He shares. He pours himself out. His message centers on his testimony of transformation from unbelief to his faith in Jesus Christ. His message often implores listeners to consider Jesus’ desire to change hearts and make us one with Him. Along with Neal’s message was a musical extravaganza with sonic, stirring, soul-soaring compositions executed by arguably some of the most gifted musicians on the planet.
Was this Heaven? From a human perspective, it seemed so. Compared to the biblical description of Heaven, however, there were a few differences –
- The event came to an end. The memories will linger on, perhaps fade a bit over time. Heaven will never end, so there will be no need for a memory of Heaven.
- There were infirmed there. Wheelchair-bound persons. A man who has terminal cancer. Those who have various physical maladies unknown to most in attendance. In fact, every person in attendance is facing mortality one day. In Heaven there will be no infirmed; no cancer, no blind, deaf, or lame. All gathered will have been made new with perfected immortal bodies.
- There were those in attendance separated from God because they have not turned from sin and trusted in Christ as their Savior. In Heaven there is no longer any separation from God because of the cross work of Jesus Christ. According to Scripture every soul is immortal spiritually. Every person who has been saved by grace alone in Christ alone will spend eternity in the presence of God. Those who have rejected Christ’s grace gift of salvation will spend eternity separated from God.
What did we experience in a weekend that will be experienced in Heaven forever? People from different tongues and nations. Friendship and fellowship. Testimonies of life and love and transformation. Unending effusive joy, unimaginable light, beautiful music, and continuous worshipful singing.
At the center of it all will be the One we have gathered for, the One who loves us, who died for us, and has saved us from our sin, our shame, our suffering and pain. Jesus.
What a joy it was to experience a similitude of Heaven called Morsefest. What a joy it was to meet so many souls who traveled so many roads to share the same love for the music. I pray that all will listen to and heed the message. And Lord willing, if there is a Morsefest 2018, we can gather together again.
Soli Deo Gloria.