I can think of exactly two popular songs about Heaven that were written in my lifetime, and neither of them feature on this list! That is sad, Christians believe we will spend eternity in Heaven, but modern Christians don’t seem to have any songs about it. We are supposed to be looking forward to it, but we don’t sing much about it. Something doesn’t add up here: which is sad.
However, what really makes me sad is that songs of Heaven are great helps to us on Earth. They are good when we are dying, and the truth is we are dying a little every day. They are also when we despair of life, when things down here are hard it is good to look up and now we won’t be here much longer. Songs help us in all of this, and we have a plethora of excellent songs available.
I was surprised to learn how many songs had been written about Heaven, and perhaps you will be as well. This list is far from exhaustive. This list is based on the lyrics of the songs with preference given to those with rich contents. That said there is no particular order.
1. On Jordan’s Stormy Banks
This song has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years, and was one of the few hymns of Heaven that never fell too far out of favor. The lyrics are simple, but profound in painting a picture of place beyond all of our troubles. It speaks of place we can see, where our possessions are waiting; a real place just over Jordan.
2. The Sands of Time are Sinking
It is good the sands of time are sinking, and we will know why if we listen to the verses which follow that opening line. This song focuses much on the sights of the wedding supper of the Lamb, and in so doing gives us the gospel in full
3. This is not My Place of Resting
The real merit of this song is that continually reminds us we are not to look for rest in this world. It there when we are weary to keep us fixed on our true relief. The words are few, but well chosen for their task.
4. Jerusalem Heavenly Home
Perhaps the most robust song on this list, we find everything here from God immediate presence, to our resurrection bodies. The focus here goes beyond our relief from the burden of living in a fallen world to pure wonders of Heaven, it is song of celebration for our true Home; and for that reason, it ought to be included in our hymnody.
5. Marching to Zion
The great strength of this song is its sense of motion and unity. I think this simple composition is especially powerful for congregational singing. It also keeps the object of our march clearly in view.
6. Shall we Gather at the River
Perhaps the most widely known song on this list, and the most often misunderstood. The river in question is that glorious stream which flows from Throne of God. The sense of certain in the chorus is very uplifting.
Written from the perspective of a passing saint, this song brings the hope of Heaven to bear beautifully on grief and bereavement.
8. Wayfaring Stranger
A song that really puts us in our place, while contrasting this life with the life to come.
9. Beams of Heaven
A pilgrim’s prayers, looking forward to his goal.
10. In the Sweet by and by
Another song with a corporate appeal, its simple chorus is easy to learn and remember.