In the King’s Service: Chapter 6
ON THE MOUNTAIN
While we ate, Greig and Rose came in for a good deal of teasing, but they were much too happy to mind. Greig explained that he and Rose had met on earth and in fact, knew each other well.
‘We did not know about this however!’ he smiled.
‘Row could we?’ Rose asked softly. ‘My Greig is such a fine, handsome boy and I am elderly and plain’
Her words were drowned in Greig’s laughter.
‘Elderly and plain!’ he jeered. ‘Why, you are positively dazzling.’
‘I know,’ she agreed. ‘That is because I am here and share in the eternal youth of Heaven’s realm. On earth, though, I am all I said.’
‘Well, what does it matter, now I have found you?’ Greig demanded sturdily. ‘When I get back I shall…’
‘You will not remember, Greig.’
‘Not remember?’ His astonishment halted his words for a moment, then: ‘What is the use of it? Rose and I belong!’
‘I know, old fellow,’ I soothed him. ‘You will always belong.’ I looked at Janet and she nodded.
‘Better explain, Bernard,’ she agreed to my unspoken question. The others all leaned forward eagerly.
‘In the Father’s Plan,’ I began, ‘there are always two. You know; positive and negative, heat and cold, light and dark, male and female – always two! Because He is Love, He ordained that two should walk together through eternity, learning, sharing, growing and climbing together. Understand?’
‘Yes,’ came a chorus of assent.
‘Now as life on earth is a training school for Heaven, we always come to the circumstances that are best for our learning. Thus, some may learn better with a companion, some may learn better alone; some advance more rapidly when married, others unmarriedour learning is the chief thing. Thus it is that the two who are to walk together for eternity may meet early in life as close relativessisters, brothers, cousins, perhapsor they may meet later on, and marry. Again, they may be friends who meet at some time in life or they may not meet at all.’
‘But how can they be sisters or brothers?’ Ronald demanded ‘How can they be married?’
‘There is no marriage or giving in marriage in Heaven,’ Janet reminded him.
‘Oh no, I forgot,’ he admitted, and Guy said:
‘That is one of the reasons why people think Heaven is a lonely place, I suppose.’
‘But why should a physical relationship which requires an earthly body be the only insurance against loneliness?’ I asked, ‘Here, freed from the limitations of our earthbodies, we have a closer, more vital and more satisfying companionship always ! Where two walk together, the relationship is exquisite. Think of being united before the Lord, being blessed by Him, climbing and learning together, going from strength to strength and from joy to joy, through all the ages together!’
I saw Rose press Greig’s hand, and smile.
‘Then you mean that, in our case, we needed to climb alone?’ Greig asked.
‘Yes. Had you been together on earth you would not have grown so quickly. It is for this that men live on earth, to learn to know God, to climb upward, always, toward the Heights of His Love.’
‘Shall we really reach Him more quickly alone?’ Rose asked.
‘Yes.’ Again they exchanged a smile, and then Greig, speaking for both, said:
‘Then I am glad we have not known each other until now,’
‘Oh, brave boy!’ Janet threw an arm around him and held him close.
‘Then we are content,’ Rose declared. ‘We have seen so much, already, of His Love.
‘How is it we have met now?’ Greig asked after a little pause.
‘Those who are parted from The One often meet in sleep,’ I replied.
Janet, seeing their puzzlement, explained:’He who walks with you is called “The One” and when you have finished your Term of Reparation and are PurpleGowned, the Lord will unite you. Then you will wear the Golden Sash!’
‘Is that why you wear it?’ Rose asked, fingering the silky texture of Janet’s. ‘Oh, I shall have a double treasure in Heaven now!’
‘We will be faithful, and strive to be worthy of His loving kindness,’ Greig exclaimed. ‘I am going to watch so carefully and try so hard to live cleanly in His sight from now on!’
‘I also;’ Rose affirmed, smiling at him.
‘Well, I never thought I should see this in the Plane Between!’ Ronald pretended to scowl at them, and in a moment all the solemnity was gone. Reg challenged the rest to a race in the sea, intending to surprise them with his underwater powers, and for a long time their happy shouts floated up to us. Janet, Rose and I sat outside the house and talked, feasting our eyes on the rippling waves until, just as the young men joined us, I knew it was time to take our places in the avenue.
As soon as the suggestion was made, we all started on our way. Reg was excited, remembering his disappointment the last time when he had been unable to see the King. Now he was sure of seeing Him and he went striding on in front, too eager to wait for us.
Presently, however, he came running back, followed by Gordon and Derek. They exchanged a brief greeting and then hurried to tell their news as we gathered round.
‘He is coming down the hillside!’ Derek exclaimed. ‘If we go now we shall be able to meet Him on the way.’
‘Already some of the people have started,’ Gordon said. ‘We tried to let you know but your mental veils were drawn, so we came back.’
‘It was good of you,’ Janet smiled. ‘Let us hurry, then!’
What a thrilling walk that was! We strode over the green and through the wood. This time we did not stop to admire the flowers or pick the clustering fruit. Moving lightly, we soon came out at the other side and found ourselves at the foot of a long, flowerstrewn hillside. No word passed between us as we climbed. Each gazed up toward the fardistant peak, longing for a first glimpse of the King. Before us, little groups were moving swiftly, and higher still some children leapt and ran.
Suddenly, poised for a moment against the sky we saw the glowing colour of His robe. He came slowly down the hillside and I strained my extended sight to its utmost, watching the children reach Him with their offerings of flowers. Some of the blossoms they tucked into a fold of His robe, others they scattered at His feet. One little mite had plaited some lilies into a crown and she reached up vainly. At once, divining her thought, He stooped over her, letting her place the crown upon His brow. This smallest one He swept up into His arm, and walked on, with the other children clinging to His hand. Then the hurrying group of people reached and surrounded Him. I saw them kneel for His blessing and look up into His face as He spoke to each one. Oh, how our steps quickened!
Soon, He was walking on again, and those about Him, in their joyful kindness, dropped back a little when they saw us approach. After an instant’s pause we all ran forward to meet Him and flung ourselves on our knees at His feet.
Smiling down at us, He touched us caressingly upon the head, blessing each one by name. How sweetly His voice rang on the still, mountain air
‘Derek … Gordon … Ronald … Paul … Guy … Reg . Bernard … Janet …
When He came to Rose and Greig, He did not speak, and, looking up, we saw Him draw them to their feet. Then, with an arm about the shoulder of each, He paced on down the hillside. We followed, wonderingly, watching our King with proud and loving eyes. For a little while the three were lost to sight behind a clump of trees; then Greig and Rose reappeared, leaping up the hill to us. Their faces were glowing so with joy that they looked like angels.
‘He thanked us,’ Greig cried breathlessly. ‘Actually thanked us for accepting’
‘He said it gladdened His heart,’ Rose whispered.
They broke off, for our Lord appeared again, holding out His arms to us all. We all ran down to Him, the children clinging to His hands and skipping around Him, the rest following with sober rapture. We felt like the first disciples whom He called on earth as we went down the hillside, listening to His words.
All too soon we reached the green, where the children were already scattering their blossoms for His feet.