Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Monkish Morse Code

Reflecting on the way the Easter truth transforms not only life now but the life to come I recalled the following story:

Two monks often got into conversation about the subject of ‘heaven.’ What will it be like in the presence of God? What did the apostle mean that on that day we shall see God ‘face to face’? (1 Cor 13: 12) How will our relationship with God be different when it is perfect and mature? Is heaven really what the choruses and the creeds have cracked it up to be?

These two monks made a pact. They decided that when the first of them died and presumably, entered the state called ‘heaven’, that if it were at all possible for them to return, that monk would return and communicate to the other monk what heaven was like.

They agreed on the communication code. If the monk was able to come back from heaven and he knocked once {bang}, that was his way of saying, “I’m back.”

If he knocked again {bang, bang}, that was his way of saying, “Its pretty much the way we have thought and discussed it.”

If it was different he would knock again—a third time.

The time came. One of them died. The remaining monk, was bereft yet he had a measure of excitement. Was his friend in heaven? Could he come back? Would he return?

Sure enough during that first week, in the middle of the night the monk was lying in bed and he heard the noise, {bang}. The monk thought, “He’s there!” He’s here!

Then he heard, {bang, bang}, a second knock and he thought… “Yes— just as we had discussed!”

Then he heard a {bang, bang, bang}‑ three knocks and then a fourth {bang} and in the quiet of the monastery the knocks were getting louder, then there was a fifth {bang} and a sixth {bang} until finally the monk yelled out: “Ok OK, You can stop now. I’ve got the message!!!!!!!!!!!

Geoff Pound

Image: Monks in heavenly conversation.