John Winkler was in heaven. How he came to be there he didn’t know. But there he was, and an angel was showing him around. It was the most beautiful place John had ever seen. Ever since childhood he had heard about “pearly gates” and “streets of gold,” of “shining white robes” and “glittering crowns.”
He remembered singing about “mansions of glory and endless delight.” But it was nothing like that at all. Heaven was far, far more wonderful than anything he could have imagined or dreamed of in a million years.
He followed his guide as they stepped inside a tremendously large workroom. “This,” the angel said, “Is the Receiving Section.” As John looked round about the place, the angel continued, “Here all of the prayers and petitions to God are received.” It was an unbelievably busy place with a multitude of angels rushing here and there, busy sorting out hundreds and hundreds of prayers written on voluminous sheets and scribbled on scraps from people all over the world.
They moved on down a long corridor to another section. “This is the Packaging and Delivery Area,” explained the angel, “Here all the graces, blessings and things people have asked for are processed and delivered to those who asked for them.” Again John noticed how busy everyone was. The place fairly hummed with activity. A great host of angels, hard at work, were packing, addressing and dispatching hundreds and hundreds of packages for delivery to earth.
Finally, they moved out of all the hustle, bustle and noise and on down the corridor. There at the farthest end they stopped at the entrance of a very small station. To his astonishment, John saw a single angel, seated, idly doing nothing. Noting his surprise the guide, noticeably abashed, admitted, “This is the Acknowledgment Room.”
“I don’t understand; he said, “There is no work going on here.” John could tell that his guide was greatly embarrassed. The angel, shame-faced continued, “As you can see, one angel takes care of everything here and he works only part time. Strange as it seems, thousands and thousands of petitions come in, thousands and thousands of blessings are sent out, but very few people send back acknowledgments.”
“How sad,” John heard himself saying, “But maybe they don’t understand. How does a person go about—how did you say it—sending back an acknowledgment?” The angel answered, “Quite simple; you just whisper, ‘Thank you, Lord.’
“Here comes one now from a darling little two-year-old. Listen!”
Thank you, Lord,
For this, our food;
For life and love
And every good. Amen.
Suddenly, John Winkler was awake. It was morning and he realized that he had been dreaming. Yet, for some reason, it seemed to him that all he had seen and heard was true. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.