...Love is a flag flying high from the castle of my heart, for the King is in residence here.
The children's voices rose and fell in unison. Cindy closed her eyes, recalling the grandeur of Windsor Castle and the conversation she'd had there just weeks earlier.
“Mummy, will we see the Queen?”
“Not today sweetheart. When the Queen is staying here, the royal standard flies above the castle to show everyone she's here. But see, today the flag pole is empty.”
Now Cindy's heart seemed to skip a beat. Could it be that simple to show that King Jesus was living in her heart? She sang again with renewed gusto: “...So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know, that the King is in residence here.”
The stately Gothic church was packed to capacity long before the service began. The usual babble of conversation was subdued. Feet shuffled briefly when the pall-bearers arrived. Silence reigned over the standing throng as they carried the coffin down the aisle.
“Friends, today we remember a true saint. Eternity alone will tell how many lives Cindy Beresford touched during her time among us.” Reverend Pearson's voice cracked momentarily. “Matthew 13 verse 33 says, 'The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour, and it worked through all the dough.' Cindy lived and breathed God's Kingdom. Today four people will pay tribute to her, telling what Jesus did for them through her.”
A young woman stepped to the front, one hand grasping a toddler's grubby arm, the other wiping her eyes with a mauve handkerchief. “I was a teenage junkie. I lived int' shadows an' avoided 'proper folk' like t' plague. I got carted off to 'ospital to give birf 'cause I was bleedin'. Never bin so scared in me life! When I 'eard t' chaplain was coming to talk to me I thought, 'Creepers, I'm in for a right ticking off now!' Anyways, Cindy told me t' story of 'ow Jesus forgave t' woman caught in adultery. I cried an' cried. No one 'ad ever told me 'bout Jesus before. That day I asked 'im into me 'eart. I never touched drugs since. I kept me daughter, an' next monf I'm getting married. I'm 'appy Cindy's wiv Jesus, but I do jus' wish... that she could of... hung on to see me wedding!” Handkerchiefs fluttered like so many white flags as Trisha returned to her fiancé's embrace.
'Lanky Len' told how he phoned the Samaritans, receiver in one hand and aspirin bottle in the other, because he couldn't cope any longer with the unending mocking about his stammer. “I don't know how C–C–Cindy managed to listen to me all n–n–n–night without nodding o-o–o–off! By morning I had received Jesus and f–f–f–f–found r–real l–l–love and new h–h–hope.”
Next up was Beryl, an elderly lady with tinted hair, bifocals and a sonorous voice. “I met Cindy 25 years ago. I was in hospital, riddled with cancer, and so low I wanted to die. She read to me how Job found God in the midst of his suffering. Then she prayed - quietly mind, no hype - that I'd know God in the midst of my pain. She didn't ask him to heal me, but gradually this warm feeling started spreading all through me and suddenly the pain was gone! She walked so close to Jesus it was like He oozed out of her pores. Thanks to her I'm healed, and headed for glory!” Rapturous applause filled the church as Beryl took her seat.
Christine's friends had long since guessed that she carried a shameful secret. Some gasped, others shed silent tears as she told how Cindy had walked with her the road of recovery from the twin horrors of rape and abortion. “And you know what?” she concluded, “She always told me I would know my healing was complete when I could talk openly about it.” Cheers almost drowned her final words, “I think I just arrived!”
As the pall-bearers carried Cindy out of the church for the last time, her grand-daughter's warbling voice rang over the hushed sanctuary. “Love is a flag flying high from the castle of my heart...”
Gradually others joined her until six hundred voices swelled together, “...So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know, that the King is in residence here”
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