[Each Thursday, we give a brief "reflection" on a hymn. If you would like to add your favorites--up to three--to our list, please leave the names of those songs in the comments and we'll reflect on them in the future.]
One of the grandest songs about heaven, “There is a Habitation” combines powerful music with more powerful words. This is a song that is nearly always sung as singings, because you can’t sing it softly. As we excitedly sing about heaven, the song builds and builds.
Written by J.H. Rosecrans, the song seems to be the writer’s feelings of longing for heaven, but it also contains some deeply impactful statements. My favorite line in the song is at the end of the first verse. There, we sing that the habitation is for “all of every nation who seek that grand abode” (emphasis added). No one will be in heaven by accident! We must seek heaven in order to find it. (By the way, let Calvinists, who teach that we are born sinners, sing that line. How can a baby “seek” heaven?)
The favorite part of the song for most, though, is where Rosecrans wrote about the peace in heaven. In the 2nd verse he wrote that no “wars nor desolations shall ever move a stone.” Then he spent the entire 3rd verse talking about the wonderful things we read of in Revelation 20 and 21. That great verse of song says:
No night is there, no sorrow;
No death and no decay;
No yesterday, no morrow–
But one eternal day.
While there are scores of reasons we should want to go to heaven, one of the greatest reasons is because all “the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
With all these wonderful reminders in the song, then, it’s no wonder Rosecrans stated, “I long thy gates to see.” Then he asked the unanswerable question: “When shall I dwell in thee?”
I don’t know when “my time” will be, but I sure long to be in Zion. And I pray I’ll be there with you.
Enjoy the following congregational version of this grand hymn.
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