If you have ever sung in a church choir or run a church choir, and if you have no aversion to foreign films, then like me you might really enjoy the film “As it is in Heaven” (2004). Set in Sweden the film tells the story of a brilliant violinist, conductor and composer, Daniel Daréus, who is forced to “retire” from his musical career due to ill health. He returns to Norrland, his childhood home town, but no one remembers him and just as well! He was ostracised and bullied there as a child. Though initially alone and viewed with strange curiosity by the townsfolk, he is soon asked to take on the leadership of the local church choir. Predictably he takes their small group from mediocrity to brilliance, yet the journey is enthralling and in no wasy predictable! There is such a mixture of personalities and personal issues which bubble along, creating both tension and many hilarious moments. His vocal training methods produce great results and there are eventually more people in the choir than there are in church congregation, much to Pastor Stig’s disgust! Daniel’s morality is soon brought into question: “There’s sin in the congregation hall” one wary and reluctant chorister reports! The film is full of funny moments for viewers who are privvy to the dynamics of church congregations.
But even more than the humour I love the way the film reveals the impact and significance of music in our lives. It has such power to unite people and create harmony, both vocally and in our relationships. In the final, surprising scene Daniel is immersed in the beautiful unwritten harmony coming of around 1000 voices. Perhaps this is as it should be, as it IS in heaven!
“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)
What amazing grace God has given us in those 7 little notes (A to G) which can be employed in infinite combinations for such diversity of results!