Included here are several poems and articles that have caught my attention over the years. The two poems, Looking for the Sunrise and Treasure Up in Heaven, and the article A Traveller’s Guide to Heaven, I have had in my collection for many years and do not know where they first appeared in print. They are worth passing on to the next generation, but I hope I am not infringing any copyright in doing so. The poem Looking for the Sunrise I have often used at funerals in my role as an Anglican pastor, and sometimes get asked for copies.
The King and the Fool appeared over sixty years ago in a small booklet titled The Traveller’s Guide from Death to Life which contained illustrations of the gospel compiled by Mrs Stephen Menzies and published by the British Gospel Book Association.
Looking for the Sunrise
I’m not looking for the sunset,
As the swift years come and go;
I am looking for the sunrise,
And the golden morning glow,
Where the light of heaven’s glory
Will break forth upon my sight,
In the land that knows no sunset,
Nor the darkness of the night.
I’m not going down the pathway
Toward the setting of the sun,
Where the shadows ever deepen
When the day at last is done;
I am walking up the hillside
Where the sunshine lights the way,
To the glory of the sunrise
Of God’s never-ending day.
I’m not going down, but upward,
And the path is never dim,
For the day grows ever brighter
As I journey on with Him.
So my eyes are on the hilltops,
Waiting for the sun to rise,
Waiting for His invitation
To the home beyond the skies.
Albert Simpson Reitz, June 1953
Treasure Up in Heaven
You tell me I am getting old, but that’s not really so.
The house I live in may be worn, and that of course I know.
It’s been in use for quite a while, weathered by wind and hail.
I’m therefore not surprised to find it’s getting somewhat frail!
You tell me I am getting old, you mix the house with me.
You're looking at the outside, that’s all that you can see.
The dweller in this shaky house is young and bright and free;
Just starting on a life that lasts for all eternity.
The colour’s changing on the roof, the window’s looking dim,
The wall’s a bit transparent and is getting rather thin.
The foundation’s not as steady, as once it used to be;
But that is all that you observe, and really that’s not me!
I patch the old house up a bit, to make it last the night,
But soon I shall be leaving for my home of endless light:
I’m going to live forever there, for life goes on—it’s grand!
How can you say I’m getting old? You do not understand!
These few short years can’t make me old. I feel I’m in my youth:
Eternal life is mine right now, and thats the solid truth!
I will not fret to see this house grow shabby day by day,
But look ahead to my New Home which never will decay.
I want to be found worthy for my Father’s house above;
Cleansed in the precious Blood of Christ and growing still in love.
The beauty of that glorious home no words can ever say.
‘Tis hidden from these mortal eyes, but kept for me some day.
My house is getting ready in a place beyond the sky.
Its Architect and Builder is my Saviour now on high:
But He’s told me that He’s leaving all the furnishing to me,
So it’s ‘treasure up in heaven’ that I’m storing—don’t you see?
Mr L. A. T. Van Dooran
A Traveller’s Guide to Heaven
Accommodation: Arrangements for first-class accommodation have been made in advance.
In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you (John 14:2).
Passports: Persons seeking entry will not be permitted past the gates without having proper credentials and having their names registered with the ruling Authority.
Nothing impure will ever enter it…but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).
Departure Times: The exact date of departure has not been announced. Travellers are advised to be prepared to leave at short notice.
It is not for you to know the times or the dates, which the Father has set by his own authority (Acts 1:7).
Tickets: Your ticket is a written pledge that guarantees your journey. It should be claimed and its promises kept firmly in hand.
Everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life (John 5:24).
Customs: Only one declaration is required while going through customs.
I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).
Immigration: All passengers are classified as immigrants, since they are taking up permanent residence in a new country. The quota is unlimited.
They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one…for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:16).
Luggage: No luggage whatsoever can be taken.
We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Timothy 6:7).
Air passage: Travellers going directly by air are advised to watch daily for indication of imminent departure.
We who are still alive and are left will be caught up, with them, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Vaccination and inoculation: Injections are not needed, as diseases are unknown at the destination.
He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever (Revelation 21:4).
Currency: Supplies of currency may be forwarded ahead to await the passenger’s arrival. Deposits should be as large as possible.
Store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them (Matthew 6:20).
Clothing: A complete and appropriate new wardrobe is provided for each traveller.
He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Time changes: Resetting of watches will not be necessary. Nor will the watches.
The city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light…and night never comes (Revelation 21:23, 25).
Reservations: Booking is now open. Apply at once.
The time has come. This is the day for you to be saved (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Coronation ceremony: The highlight of the journey is the welcoming reception and the coronation which will await each new arrival.
There is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and…also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
The following letter was printed in a local paper some twenty years ago. It was sent to them by a parishioner of an Anglican church in Christchurch, New Zealand whose name I do not have.
This poem is my own hesitant effort at writing poetry. I composed it on the occasion of the memorial service for our little grandson who died in his mother’s womb at seven and a half months.
In sorrow and with heavy hearts
We gather on this day,
To cast to earth a little lad,
To share, to grieve, to pray.
For little Hamish, ere he knew
To either laugh or cry,
Was taken from us suddenly,
And now we wonder why.
That hand that never held a spade,
That eye that never saw,
Those feet that never trod the soil,
Now seem to be no more.
But this is only part the tale,
For we have hope above—
A God with power beyond this world
Whose character is Love;
A God who knows the depths of pain,
In Person of his Son
Took human nature, flesh and blood—
For us the victory won.
He lived through hunger, thirst and trial,
He knew both joy and gloom,
He prayed through many sleepless hours,
He wept at Lazarus’ tomb.
Through death he plumbed the depths of hell,
In power he rose to reign,
And demonstrated once for all
A final end to pain.
And so, in faith we journey on,
We trust, if cannot see,
In hope of glory yet to come,
Touched by eternity.
And when at last the trumpet sounds,
And this grey sleeping dust
Is transformed by God’s mighty power,
Then he will rise with us.
In instant recognition then
No stranger will we meet—
A loving son, a friend in Christ—
A family complete.
Then we shall see what traits, what gifts,
Within your genes were sealed,
What personality is yours,
In manhood full revealed.
So, Hamish, though we still do grieve,
We follow where we’re led;
And till that glorious break of Day
We send our love ahead.
15 October, 1998
The King and the Fool
A certain lord kept a fool, or jester, in his house, as great men did in olden times for their amusement. His lord gave a staff to his fool, and charged him to keep it until he met with a greater fool than himself, and if he met with such a one, to deliver it over to him. Not many years after, the lord fell sick. His fool came to see him, and was told of his master’s illness. “And where will you go?” asked the fool. “On a long journey,” said the lord. “And when will you come again? Within a month?” “No,” said his master. “Within a year?” “No.” “What then—never?” “Never.” “And what provision have you made for where you are going?” “None at all.” “Are you going away for ever,” said the fool, “and have made no provision before your departure? Here, take my staff, for I am not guilty of any such folly as that.”
Will you meet me at the fountain?
There is an old Sankey hymn, “Will you meet me at the fountain?” It was written at the time of a great Industrial Exhibition in Chicago and “The fountain” was the place where everybody arranged to meet their friends. It expresses my wish for you, the reader of this booklet:
Will you meet me at the Fountain
When I reach the glory land
Will you meet me at the Fountain
Shall I clasp your friendly hand?
Other friends will give me welcome,
Other loving voices cheer,
There’ll be music at the Fountain,
Will you meet me there?
Will you meet me at the Fountain?
I shall long to have you near
When I meet my loving Saviour,
When His welcome words I hear.
He will meet me at the Fountain,
His embraces I shall share.
There’ll be glory at the Fountain,
Will you, will you meet me there?