In the King’s Service: Chapter 1
THE WISH FULFILLED
Janet and I were waiting in the valley of the Hall of Reception in good time to welcome Reg from his joyous experience. We had had a splendid holiday in the Plane Between. While we lazed on the beach, went swimming, and paid visits to the other houses, Janet and I talked over our adventures.
She had been once to the Hall of Audience – lucky Janet! This was only a short visit, however, to convey a message to one of the angels whose mental veil was drawn. Then she had been to see Anna in the Hall of Friends and I asked eagerly for news of my charge. A visit from Rose followed, and Janet told me how Rose had spoken hopefully of earth, saying that its sufferings were turning it more arid more to think of the loving God.
I described my journeys with Reg, and Janet was delighted to hear of his growing simplicity and his ardent desire to see his King.
‘Dear boy !’ she said, smiling and misty-eyed. ‘His sacrifice of his life earned him this swift awakening.’
‘He is typical of thousands,’ I agreed, remembering my meditations on the rock in the Hall of Adventure. ‘Had those young men had their normal length of life they might have learned to know the Master but now, cut off in their prime, He comes to meet them more than halfway.’
‘He comes almost all the way,’ Janet said musingly, ‘our King of Love!’
‘Reg will never be able to say again that he does not know the King,’ I exclaimed. ‘By now he will have seen… and felt… and heard.’
For a long time we continued to sit by the riverbank in the peaceful valley. The water flowed lazily by, rippling and dimpling, chuckling as it gushed over the smooth stones, and darkening to grey as it reached the shadow of a bridge. I lay down and put my hands into the water, enjoying its cool caress, until Janet cried suddenly: ‘Here he comes !’
I leapt up and stood beside her, looking up the hillside. Reg was standing at the top, outlined against the sky. His flowing purple robe was brilliantly contrasted with its subdued pearlgrey. As we watched, he caught sight of us, lifted up his hand and waved. We answered the salute, waiting for him to join us, and Reg began to walk swiftly, his fine head lifted high. How graceful he was! He had all the dignity of one newly PurpleGowned, and extending my sight, I saw the blissful, absorbed expression I could understand so well.
When Reg was halfway down the hillside his abstraction vanished. With a gay shout he began to plunge through the flowers, leaping and running in the zest of his youth. We could not help laughing at the sudden transformation.
‘He could not be solemn for long !’Janet exclaimed, and I said: ‘How well the Master must understand. He who was once a Boy on earth.’
With a rush Reg reached us and gave us each a firm clasp of the shoulder. He said nothing, but stood there smiling, and I do not think I shall ever forget the radiance and the princely grace of him. Here was one of whom any mother could be proud; and how good to know that multitudes of these young heroes walked so gladly in Heaven’s realm. Young princes they truly were, who had come into the Kingdom of their King…
‘You have been a long time, old man,’ I observed, and he laughed, obviously puzzled.
‘Have I, Bernard? Afterwards, the joy was so great that I just travelled about, alone, trying to realise it all. To tell the truthI forgot all about you!’
‘Well!’ Janet exclaimed in mock indignation, adding, ‘We did just the same, Reg.’
‘You did? Then you understand perfectly. It is so wonderful to have the Master so close, to be united to Him and to know one is clean in His sight. Do you know’ he broke off confusedly, and I said: ‘Go on, Reg.’
‘Well, this may seem strange to you, but ever since it happened, I have been saying in my mind, the words of a lovesong I heard on earth; only this time I have been saying it to Him.
‘”You have taken my heart and I’m willing; You have taken my heart and it’s thrilling. Never have I known a thrill like this; Never has the world stood still like this Like the music of rain, soft and tender, Like the ocean’s refrain in its splendour. If You really want me, I’ll surrender; You have taken my heart.”‘ ‘Of course, when I come to “If You really want me,” I smile, for know He wants me and I have surrendered. Do you think it is all right?’
‘Yes, it is quite all right, old man,’ I assured him, much moved, and Janet said dreamily:
‘I think it is lovely.’
‘What shall we do now?’ I asked.
‘Well, I have such a strong wish,’ Reg confessed.
‘Out with it then,’ I invited. ‘You are our guest of honour, remember.’
‘It is good of you,’ Reg said. ‘I shall appreciate being with you both until I get used to this.’ He looked down at his robe with loving pride. ‘Do you think I could be accepted in the Hall of Reporters?’
‘Oh, is that the way the wind blows,’ Janet laughed, and I added:
‘We can ask, if you wish.’
‘Can we? Do you think we could go there now?’
‘Immediately.’ And we set off without more ado.
On the way Reg told us that he had been thinking a great deal about the Hall of Reporters.
‘It is such an adventurous life,’ he explained, ‘living in all the freedom of Heaven and yet being able to make journeys to earth.’
‘It would mean a lot of travelling,’ I pointed out.
‘I would like that.’
It was an immensely long distance we had to cover, but we were not in the least tired for we spent our time in looking at the different Halls as we sped over them, each saying something concerning those already visited and guessing much about those unknown Between us, we planned quite a comprehensive trip which we would make in the future, visiting many Halls which were only names to us then.