IN THE PARK
Presently we said goodbye to Margaret and began to walk slowly on, our angel between us. We soon left the Pastimes behind us and came upon a park. Here and there, were arbours where people were talking together.
It reminded me of the Place of Vision except for the absence of perambulators. Most of the people were robed in loose-fitting garments, the men looking somewhat Eastern in their flowing skirts. “Where are we now?” Janet asked.
“It is but a continuation of that which we have left – and of a place you have visited before.”
“Have we really been here?” I questioned, looking around in surprise. “We have travelled so much since we came to Heaven’s realm that we may have forgotten this.”
“No, it is just that you have not seen this particular park. It is part of the Hall of Friends.”
Janet and I cried out in delight, at this. It was very pleasant to come upon a familiar place. However, we were puzzled. Janet glanced at me questioningly. “I thought that Hall was on a higher plane,” she said at last.
“So it is – the part you saw last time. But remember what I said about the ‘babes’ mingling with all the others,” said the angel. “Here too, each one sees, learns and enjoys what he is ready to understand. Besides, the ‘older’ ones help the ‘babies.’ It is touching sometimes, to see with what respect some of the newcomers regard their ‘elders.’ Again, some who are more advanced can see us. Some of them even see the King when He visits the people here.”
“Has He been here recently?” Janet whispered. The angel’s voice dropped to a tender note of love. “He comes, even now. See, the very blossoms bow their heads.”
We followed his glance. Sure enough, the borders were all filled with drooping flowers. It reminded me of a corn-field of earth, when a strong wind blows over it. The young trees, too, bent their slender trunks. There was a hushed air of expectancy.
At the angel’s words, we had stopped walking, and now he drew us into the shadow of an arbour nearby.
Some of the people were still talking, walking about or playing games on the grass. Others seemed to sense the Master’s coming, for they drew near to a grove of drooping trees whose branches interlaced to form a great shadowed roof.
Then we saw Him He came quietly into the grove, walking among His little ones, smiling and lifting His hand in blessing on them all.
It seemed strange that some were unaware. I had an impulse to go out and stop their play, but the angel’s hand restrained me.
“He understands. Was He not equally patient with you, when you also failed to kneel at his approach?”
“When was that?” I asked in surprise.
“When He came to visit His little ones of earth. Do you not know that He visits the streets and gardens and houses, walking unseen in His lower kingdom!”
Nearer He came, our beloved King. He was robed in white and seemed much as I had imagined Him, when He called together His fishermen friends on earth.
One by one, the ‘awakening’ men and women came to kneel at His feet. One of them paused before Him, with clasped hands, gazing up with rapture to meet His tender glance.
“He has been here so often,” murmured our angel, “but she thinks it is the first time. Her eyes have opened since His last visit, you see.”
“May we go to Him?” I whispered.
“Not yet,” said our teacher, again restraining us with his hand. “Presently when He has blessed the little ones. But you may follow Him. Come!”
As our King reached the end of the grove we started at a little distance behind. How tall, how majestic He was, and how radiant the faces uplifted to His.
Soon, He turned into a large building, and when we too entered, we were surprised to find that it was a kitchen, where all kinds of foods were being prepared. There were long rolls, newly baked, which reminded me instantly of the bread-stems in the Plane Between. There were fruity cakes giving out their fragrant steam, bowls of soup and great piles of fruit. Here and there upon the long table were tall jugs of fruit juice. The workers were obviously happy as they moved silently about.
“What a joy this kitchen is to some of the newcomers!” our teacher exclaimed. ” They feel timid, perhaps, or strange, or lonely. When we bring them in here, the familiar scene dispels all their fears.”
“What is the Master doing,” as we watched Him lift His hands.
“He is blessing the food. That is one of the purposes of His visits. The little ones, eating of this prayer-charged food, grow almost unconsciously. Their eyes open too, so that first they can see us, and then they can see their King.”
Again, some of the people, continued their talk for they could not see the figure in their midst. Some, however, knelt, or sat in reverent silence. When the prayer ended, He turned to leave the building after a last look around Him. We followed closely. Swiftly, He led us once more into the park, and walking among the trees, brought us to the seclusion of a shadowed arbour.
Oh, the bliss of that moment! For as we entered, we saw His raiment glowing in rainbow hues, and blazing light surrounded His head. Once more we heard the beloved voice of our King. “Janet… Bernard….” Our angel prostrated himself beside us…