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In the King’s Service: Chapter 9

THIS WONDERFUL PLACE

‘I would like to see how Rose and Greig are,’ Janet said. So we set off to find out if they had arrived. The ranks of those in white tunics parted for us as we went among them. Everyone seemed happy to have us, looking respectfully at our rich, green robes.

‘Isn’t it queer?’ Janet chuckled. ‘When we were still in white the GreenGowned seemed quite exalted beings, and now we have reached that degree, we see ourselves as mere infants gazing up with wonder towards the Heights!’
‘It will always be like that,’ I replied. ‘Think of the thrill of the climb, Janet!’
After we had walked for a long time among the ranks of those in white, we found Greig sitting in the midst of a group, listening to one of the PurpleGowned.

‘We might have expected that,’ Janet smiled. ‘Greig has always been fond of learning.’ As we came towards them, he sprang up.

‘Are you happy, lad?’ I asked unnecessarily. Indeed, he was beaming so that I thought my question would provide him with an outlet.

‘Oh Bernard, this wonderful place!’ he cried, and turning to Janet said with a tone of awe, ‘There is something about the atmosphere something triumphant, fragrant, holy … I cannot describe it.’

‘Neither can we,’ Janet said, ‘but we know just what you mean.’

‘When you see Rose,’ he went on, ‘tell her how I rejoice with her in this wonderful privilege. It is lovely to think she is here, too.’

‘Soon you will be together always.’ He gave me a quick look and unconsciously braced his shoulders.

‘Only when our robes are quite clean. I should never have thought stains could accumulate like that – forgotten things, careless words … ‘ He was silent a moment, and then he cried, ‘But the joy of helping to cleanse the stains! I shall love every moment of my Term of Reparation.’

‘I am sure you will,’ Janet said warmly. ‘So will Rose. When you are ready, the instant you are ready, she will be waiting for you at our house in the Plane Between.’

‘How do you know that?’ I asked, astonished.

‘Her angels told me,’ Janet said composedly. ‘Just now. Rose and I are so much in sympathy.’

Greig was looking radiant and as we clasped his shoulder in farewell, he whispered:
‘Tell her I will fly to her.’

‘It is more true than he knows,’ I told Janet as we continued our search. ‘His angels told me that he had quite a short Term of Reparation before him because of the laying down of his life, you know. They said he and Rose would be together very soon.’

‘I am so glad!’ Janet was looking searchingly about her, and suddenly she caught sight of Rose. She was sitting alone, smiling in that peaceful, contented way of hers.

‘I am waiting for the angels,’ she said. ‘They told me they would be here soon.’ Even as she spoke, there was a sense of movement everywhere and the Hall was suddenly thronged with angels. I looked about me in wonder. Why, there was the colourful mist of my first visit! I had not even missed it until now. It swirled about us in its mingled rainbow hues, and this time I knew what it was. It was the shimmering fabric of the wings of higher angels who had been beyond our vision, before! I heard Janet catch her breath in wonder. She whispered:

Bernard, do you see it, too?’

‘Yes,’ I breathed.
‘Then we can see more!’ For a moment we were silent, and then Rose said:

‘What is that mist swirling around us? It is lovely.’

‘It is the colourful mist of the heart of Heaven’s realm,’ Janet explained gently.

After a while the angels of the lowest order began to arrive. Rose could see these and she cried out in admiration at the sight. They gathered in great groups between the divided colours of the robes, assigning places to the newcomers and whispering instructions to those who were alone. When Rose’s angels came for her we joined our own group once more, mingling with the GreenGowned who wore the Golden Sash. With my extended sight I could see Reg with his friends of the newly PurpleGowned, and, far beyond, my searching gaze found Greig. How happy we all were! Rank after rank were formed as far as even my extended sight could see. Around us sparkled and swirled the misty fabric of the angels’ wings. Before us the ground sloped steeply over the rim where a golden light had begun to flame and glow.

There was a great burst of trumpets and the multitude fell on their knees. Once more I saw the tips of the angels’ wings massed like rows of spears. Once more I had that indescribable sense of grandeur, of comfort and strength.

‘Let us pay homage to our God,’ chanted the angels.
‘Our God who created all that worship Him.’

The people’s voices rang out like bells over the vast Hall.
‘Let us bow down before our Creator !’
‘Our Creator who is mighty in all His ways.’
‘Let us sing our praises to the Father of Light.’
‘Our loving Father and our God for ever.’
‘Let us pay homage to our King.’
‘Our King of Love who reigns in all our hearts.’
‘Let us bow down before the Holy Ghost.’
‘That His Kingdom may come in the hearts of men on earth.’

So the chanting went on and we all joined in it, singing with gladness and power, until, with a final sound of trumpets, it ceased.