This poem is a reflection inspired by the beautiful song, “In Paradisum,” by the composer Eriks Esenvalds. I recommend you listen to the song either before or after reading the poem. (Make sure you have time and a fitting space, as the song is almost twelve minutes long!)


The symphony of sound echoing through the ages

weaves its notes and melodies into history’s folds,

creating harmony in the midst of humanity’s hurt,

harmonizing dissonance, resolving discord,

and bringing together in communion all, who,

through sin, suffer from distance and isolation.


From the beginning, at the first, song birthed the world,

the hymn of mutual praise and delighted self-giving

between the Father and his beloved Son,

in the Spirit of their mutual accord and love.


Ruah…like a breath of sound from a pure flute,

or the echoing reverberation from a bow on a string,

sounds forth the whole of universal creation,

born of Eternal Love, and in Eternal Love conceived.


Ruah…and in this breath of life exhaled,

a breath is inhaled, conceived, and breathes back in response:

what marvel, what majestic mystery, what wonder!

Man and woman stand, voiced in the one voice,

full of word spoken in the one Word,

and yet enfleshed, singing in the fabric of sinews and of bone.


“Sing, children, sing Our eternal song in temporal melody,

and your song will be woven into Ours as measure succeeds measure,

and movement follows on movement, in this majestic symphony.

Love, as you are loved, give forth breath and voice as you have been voiced,

to one another, to all creatures, in loving affirmation,

and back to Us, Father, Son, and Spirit, who,

giving you forth from the womb of our Love, receive you there anew,

and shall receive you eternally, when history’s trajectory has reached its end.”



But amidst the harmony dissonance was woven

by the disordered voice of the envious one,

and man and woman learned to sing a song not of the Creator’s giving;

the voice with which they sang was his, and the words,

but twisted beyond recognition, discordant, ugly,

in lustful possession, violence, arrogant isolation, and narrow clinging.


Lament moved the heart of the Maker, the Singer of all songs,

and immediately at the moment of the first discord

he sang forth words of promise and of hope

—for he knew, indeed, that this discordance would arise,

and had planned to sing forth healing and renewal,

so that from the very path of redemption and restoration

a yet deeper song would sound than that even at the first.


And so he did, singing forth love into history’s fabric,

growing in a crescendo of beauty and intensity

until he sang forth his very own Word, his Love Incarnate,

into the measures of man’s own making.


Dissonance colliding, death-dealing, destruction-willing,

confronted the Word of Love spoken forth in song,

and yet his sweet voice, gentle and pure, at moments even silent,

spoke more deeply and more surely,

and overcame evil’s cacophony and death’s silence

with the sweet sound of eternal dialogue:

the shared intimacy of sweetest belonging between he and the Father,

filled to overflowing with the echoing song of the Spirit.


And so the death-filled void of silent agony,

and the discordant noise of meaningless absurdity,

and all the pain and confusion and loss of all times,

taken up by the Word spoken forth from God,

were overcome, healed, and renewed in the one eternal Song.


Newness burst forth, and wove itself into history’s fabric,

making all that exists new in the one newness,

making all sing in the sweetness of the one song,

until the whole symphony of creation is taken up, at the end,

into the everlasting song of heavenly bliss,

all creatures living and indwelling, man and woman all,

in the innermost embrace, the harmonious union,

of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, without end.