“Hey, Bill. If you had to make a short list of the things you love most about this place, what would be on it?”
“That would be a pretty long short list, Marty. Are you being serious? What is there not to like?”
“You’re right, let me rephrase the question. What are the things that surprised you most when you got here?”
“OK. Now I sense your meaning. Let me give you a countdown: Bill’s Top Five Surprises upon Reaching Heaven. Number Five: Sympholyrica.”
“I knew that would be on your list somewhere!” Marty chimed.
“Music and song were a passion of mine on earth, but sympholyrica goes beyond human comprehension. It is purely heavenly.”
Marty agreed, “Absolutely! I could not even carry a tune in the flesh, so it was even more surprising to me. I never would have guessed that ‘the last shall be first’ meant that I would be an elite sympholyricist in heaven, but I am so grateful to the Father for that blessing. Everyone rejoices at the sound of my praise, and that just magnifies the glory God receives from it.”
Bill added, “It is a beautiful thing, indeed. I am one of the few up here that experienced your gift in both realms. Now I realize how wrong I was on earth—in so many ways, I might add. When you sang in church, you were giving everything you had to God, while I was just giving from my surplus. Your lifetime of heartfelt praise was refined by fire and came through in full, and I could not be happier about that.
“Number Four: Manna.”
“It has to be in everybody’s top five surprises,” Marty opined. “I have been here nearly twenty thousand years, I eat it every day, and I never tire of it.”
Bill concurred, “I guess it was the way Moses described it in the Bible—passages about food laying on the ground, getting maggots if it sat overnight, and the Israelites growing tired of it—that conditioned people to think it wasn’t very tasty.”
“They even called it ‘What is it?’” Marty remembered. “You would think they would have called it ‘How delicious’ or something like that. Even after all this time, I am still discovering new dimensions to its flavor. All right, let’s keep the list rolling.”
Bill continued, “Number Three: Our Heavenly Bodies.”
“No brainer! They are beyond all expectations. No wonder the Bible never gave us any clues about them; no mortal could possibly have understood what they were like. Keep going. I can’t wait for the last two!”
“Number Two: Communion.”
“Wow! What a blessing it is to be in perfect communion with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and every believer. That is pretty much the definition of heaven for me, too. It was what I was looking forward to, and yet, I still was blown away by it when it became a reality.”
“Yes, but it wasn’t your fault,” Bill asserted. “Just think of what passed for communion on earth: a stale cracker and a shot of grape juice, a morsel of bread dipped in wine, or some variation of the same. The Christians on earth took complete unity with Christ and his Body and reduce it to a rote tradition. It is amazing and sad at the same time. Oh well, it is sad no more. Now we have the real thing.”
“That is the truth! I think I can guess what your number one is, but go ahead and tell me.”
“Cue the sympholyrica, please. Bill’s Number One Surprise is: The Conduit.”
“I knew it! What else could it be? When you think of the billions of people, billions of Christians even, who have lived on earth and realize that not a single person ever figured it out, it really is amazing.”
“I know,” Bill acknowledged. “The incredible thing is that we all knew there was something there, but we just never made the connection—no pun intended. Just consider that on a daily basis people close a deal with a handshake, greet one another with an embrace, and express intimacy with a kiss. Even so, no one on earth has ever noticed that touch is the most useful of all the senses.”
“That’s why I’m glad we stay in touch like this,” Marty concluded. “Let’s do this again next week.”
Then Marty and Bill released their handhold, and the conduit they had been sharing terminated.
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