How should one best approach the gates of heaven? Frank receives a top tip from a US military man…
Without wishing to be morbid, I have been wondering from time to time how I might conduct myself at the pearly gates of heaven when – far into the future, I hope – I kick the bucket. It is prudent to be as well-prepared as one can be for an event which is, after all, inevitable. Some people do not care to think of such things, or think they are tempting fate by doing so, but I do not give a fig for superstitions. I am preparing for my appointment just as I might prepare for a friendly chinwag with a Jesuit priest – that is, very very carefully, in case I come a-cropper, theologically or otherwise. (Readers may be interested in my forthcoming pamphlet Top Tips For Talking To Priests, available soon.)
It has occurred to me, for example, that it would probably be an error to sashay up to the pearly gates oozing self-confidence and braggadocio. Having led an exemplary life of almost unimaginable piety (so far), I would be entirely justified in doing so, but it’s best not to push your luck in these circumstances. At the same time, crawling upon my belly like a worm or a thing that creepeth upon the face of the earth would be overdoing the humility just a tad.
How, then, to strike the right note? I tussled with this question until I came across a masterclass from Retired US Lieutenant-General William Boykin [pictured above], addressing a conference of apocalyptic Christian Zionists in April 2008. He is a man who knows how to present himself to the Almighty.
Here’s the way I want to show up at the gates of heaven. I want to come skidding in there on all fours. I want to be slipping and sliding and I want to hit the gates of heaven with a bang. And when I stand up, when I stand before Christ, I want there to be blood on my knees, and my elbows. I want to be covered with mud. And I want to be standing there with a ragged breastplate of righteousness, and a spear in my hand. And I want to say, “Look at me, Jesus, I’ve been in the battles, I’ve been fighting for you!”