J. Grant Swank, Jr.
I positioned the fez atop my head, then climbed onto the camel’s back, imagining myself in control.
Typical American notion. So there!
Not really. A most cordial guide stood close to camel and me for
safe journeying across those Egyptian sands. It surely was a different power
play than setting my Acura’s cruise control.
When trekking a desert half the world away, one does want to get his travel
money’s worth. So it was with Priscilla and me as we set ourselves to gaze
upon the pyramids. We did not have to work up much of an aesthetic sweat to
bring it off. The specimens themselves elicited response truly beyond
Pyramids: “steps to heaven”, “kingdom tombs”. Whatever lingo fits your
fancy, they are burial wonders of the Egyptian ancients.
Inside those mysterious architectural extravaganzas were chambers,
galleries and corridors to protect the mummies from robbers. Tunnels also
held equipment for the next sphere once exiting this earthly realm.
Our evening offered us the “Sight and Sound” feature. We sat as audience to
sky and sand, taking in the phenomenal presentation accenting the
historic edifices mounded before us.
So it was when visiting the Cairo Museum we saw for our intensely
curious selves King Tut’s (Tutankhamun; ruled 1332-1322 BC) encasing.
When years later that prize made its North American tour, we recalled
the wonder impression it had made upon us.
Egyptians certainly believed in more than ‘now.’ ‘Then’ demanded its own
preparatory mandate, hence the pyramids.
I fondly remember a very dear Lakes Region friend, William A.
Tierney. A Christian, he thoroughly enjoyed the ‘now.’ With that, he also
wisely prepared for ‘then’ by keeping his life in order under God.
When chatting with his wife about his friendship imprint left upon our
hearts, we treasured especially various meanderings over Maine’s hill and
dale orchestrated by William’s inventive nature.
“Just get in and don’t ask any questions,” he would instruct passengers
boarding his vehicle for a day’s excursion. What a delight not to have to
manage trip logistics; just sit back and let William take the controls.
When it came to overseeing his journey beyond this sphere, William leaned
upon Scripture. One verse of particular comfort was II Corinthians 5:8: “.
. .absent from the body. . .present with the Lord.”
“It’s that simple,” he would witness.
In other words, God revealed to His own grace children the eternal secret.
The beyond is not a maze of unknowables nor an elusive mystery kept from
their questing spirits. The believer’s beyond is where the Lord
is-heaven, land of light. No wonder Jesus comforted His own with “Be not
afraid. . .Have I not told you? I go to prepare a place for you, that where
I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-5)
William counted on that baseline for his eternal future. Therefore, on
this, his first anniversary away from us, we too count on that revelation.
In that, we anticipate being reunited with him when we also “go through
the door.” Welcomed by Savior Jesus and angels, we will know even
as we are known, according to Scripture.
Fez in place? Yes. Camels behaving? Sure thing. Then keep moving, for the
Christian is already buoyed by the hope yet to realized.