‘Hatched in heaven’s high-crag eyrie,
ride with ease its native thermals.
Settle not for barnyard scratch-patch,
earthbound one-way street that leads you,
Paxo-stuffed, to Christmas roasting!’
Thus I had preached.
The church had lift-off
into airborne praise on hearing
of a Russian army major
dead two days, alive again – like
any astronaut in fitness,
throbbing with a cosmic life-flow –
voyager to planet Heaven
who returned to tell his doctors,
‘Jesus is alive and healthy.’
As the congregation mingles
now I meet her, sit beside her.
She my right palm takes and guides it
to her left breast, bids me touch it.
Hard as metal armour-plating,
it is over-populated
with a madly multiplying
colony of cells of cancer
which technology’s advances
failed to force into retreating.
Who is she? What is her story?
Do malignant, multiplying
thoughts o’ercrowd her mental process,
hardening her spirit also
like defensive armour-plating?
Quietly I pray that God will
grant to her a revelation
of himself and heaven, her birthplace,
where she’d been hatched to cruise the thermals.
Next day from my food I fasted,
hoping for a timely moment.
to share heart to heart the issue.
Now, in God’s design and purpose,
we are talking at a table
with interpreter’s assistance.
‘What has God already spoken?’
‘I’m so young in Christ; my knowledge
of the Word so limited; and
I get tired and sleep so often
I can’t concentrate to hear him.
‘Can God speak in dream?’ she queries,
‘for I had a dream last evening.
Also I have many nightmares –
how can I be sure the devil
is not giving me the picture?’
‘Tell us. Let us help you judge it.’
From a rotten piece of timber
I rise up in perfect wholeness,
carry seeds atop a mountain;
four old men surround me up there
as the little seeds I scatter.’
‘Why would Satan give you that one?’
Warm her smile: ‘It was the Lord then?’
‘You from rotten wood rise healthy,’
seeds of new life spreading freely
`midst decay that comes with ageing,
northward, southward, eastward, westward,
to all four corners of our planet.
‘Even should your wood rot further
till it reeks like stinking Lazarus,
now we know that God has promised
hope amidst your devastation.’
Joining hands across the table
I begin to talk to Father.
First she grins, and soon she chuckles,
then her deep contented laughter
spreads contagion round the circle.
As we catch the thermal currents
we are borne to heavenly places.
‘Answer, cancer, where’s your curse now?
Tell us, grave, where are your fetters?’
We’re aloft in seventh heaven,
airborne with the living Jesus –
cosmic eagles, born free, fly high!
Hugh Thompson (1st October 1999)
– Szczecin, Poland
In fact, Ellie went to be with the Lord
a couple of months later – flying high.