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  • Writer's pictureEunice Wilkie

The Celestial Chronicles (7)

Stories imagining Christian service from Heaven’s point of view

Locked Away

The old lady’s finger traced a repetitious pattern around the tray on which lay her morning cup of tea and biscuit. Again and again and again the finger moved around and around and around. It was the only part of her that moved – or that even seemed to be alive. The lukewarm tea in a polystyrene cup (they were short staffed in the kitchen at the Care Home and saving on the washing up) lay untouched and unnoticed on the tray. The paper plate and custard cream likewise. A busy carer tutted good-naturedly when she saw that Miss Miles had once again neglected her tea and biscuit; with a kindly smile, she whisked the tray away. It was a little pointless serving Miss Miles tea; she never noticed it, and none of the staff had a moment in their hectic day to stop and help.

Did she even have any remaining capacity to enjoy her tea? Locked away in a world of her own, her mind disoriented and dislocated from her body, what was there left to enjoy?

Miss Miles had lived her life longing for Heaven. Why did God leave her locked away on earth?


In the Courts of Heaven, Acacio was the Chief Guardian of Miss Miles, head of a team of angels privileged to watch over her until she was safely in Heaven. He didn’t hold all the answers as to why the saintly Miss Miles remained in the Realm of Time on Earth. The Master’s ways were not all revealed – even to the angels. But he was privileged to see more of the picture than those on Earth. Besides, to Acacio, these final, locked-away moments of a faithful life, were mere fleeting seconds to the heavenly life which she would very shortly know.

Acacio knew that the treasure Miss Miles had accrued in Heaven amounted to far more than the corruptible wealth of Earth’s richest residents. They had no idea how poverty-stricken they were compared to a little old lady whose care was funded by the local authority and who no longer knew her own name.

Throughout a life of constant, untiring faithfulness in even the smallest matters, Miss Miles had added gem after gem, and crown after glorious crown, to the treasure trove she strove to gain for her Lord and Saviour.

Now, in the last days of her life on Earth, there was great reward available to any who, for the sake of the Master, took the time to minister to the physical needs of the frail lady who was so great in the Courts of Heaven. Helping her sip that neglected cup of tea or spending a moment reading her a passage from the Bible, was worth eternal reward of untold splendour. In Acacio’s opinion, that was at least one of the reasons she had been left a little longer on Earth.

But Acacio had a particular interest in Miss Miles – and this one was more personal. Through the endless days of eternity to come, when the Realm of Time – and days – were no more, Miss Miles would rule over Acacio and vast numbers of other angels. In fact, so faithful had she proved on Earth, that one day she would rule an entire world.

It was very rare that an angel knew with certainty what a person’s reward and position in Heaven would be while they were still on Earth. There was usually the possibility, perhaps until the last breath of life, that a person could sin and fail and lose reward and position in the world to come. But when the mind had gone, when a person lost the capacity to knowingly sin, there was no sin left to judge. Their treasure was secure, their high role in eternity assured, and celestial beings like Acacio gathered to watch in awe the final moments on Earth of one who would one day rule over them.

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