One day in Heaven, God was joined by one of His angels as He looked out over the planets that He had made. The angel was quite junior in the ranks and although He was well out of cherub school he had not done anything of importance yet and he was really wanting to prove himself. So as he stood by his great King he was hoping he may be considered responsible enough to a serve him in some special way.
Although he was an angel he did not realise that God knew every thought in his angelic head and that it was because he wanted to speak to him that he had come down to this particular portal of heaven that day knowing that Angel Thaddeus would come by.
So God struck up conversation with the angel and it went something like this.
“Look at those planets and stars Thad…they really look amazing from here don’t they?…I wonder, if you could go to one of them for a visit which one would you choose?
Without a moments hesitation Thaddeus leaned over the portal and pointed to the biggest brightest planet that hung in space.
“Oh my Lord God, I would go there without a doubt…that is obviously the most beautiful and wonderful world you ever created…..beside this one of course”
Then, remembering that although God was good and just and kind He was also the mighty one and must be respected. So, he added hastily, “But of course Lord, if you sent me I would go anywhere!”
“I see,” said the Almighty God with a soft smile.
There was a short pensive silence in which Thaddeus was quite sure the Lord heard his angel heart beating under his wing, and when God spoke again His voice was so soft and low that Thaddeus had to incline his head slightly to hear. And what he heard was not what he had expected at all.
“I want you to go to the planet Earth Thaddeus”
Thaddeus could not believe it!
From his earliest days in cherub school to where he was now he had always known about the planet earth. From the fluffy clouds of cherub play time to the misty corridors of the angelic hosts,
“Earth” had been a whispered word that was only uttered as a
reminder of the most terrible thing that had ever happened in the wonder of Gods creation.
It was talked about at the highest level of Archangel graduation with the greatest respect as somewhere that must not be forgotten and as the great hosts of battling angels prepared for the final war, Earth was their unspoken destiny.
Before he even thought about it Thaddeus uttered the word he never thought he would say to God “No my Lord, no…not there!”
He knew that God was loving and merciful and would wait for him to come to a place of submission to his will and when the huge safe arm like the wing of a great bird gently fell around his shoulders and held him, he felt able to say in the weakest of whispers heard in Heaven “O.K. Lord I’ll go”
Then God told Him why He wanted Him to go and pointing out into the hemisphere and beyond to a small dark planet, not much bigger than a golf ball, this is what He said,
“I know that you have heard the story of that little planet. How I went there many years ago and lived among them as one of them. I know that you have heard that they took me and nailed me to a cross of wood where I died in agony and that I did not call on any of the hosts of Heaven to help because I had to do it. I had to die to make them good and give them a choice to love me so that when they finally left earth they may come to my Heaven. And in another part of this vast Heaven that you are not able to see yet, there are many redeemed earthlings who I have called here at the end of their time there, and they like you, are waiting for the day when all is made whole and beautiful again.”
“What do you want me to do there” whispered Thaddeus.
“I want you to find me one most precious thing and bring it back to Heaven.”
Thaddeus protested that he could not imagine there was anything precious on earth, but God assured him that he would show him the way to go and when he found it he would know.
So the angel Thaddeus went to earth.
He stood on the hard grey pavement of a city somewhere on earth and cried out to God “Surely there is nothing precious on this
miserable screwed up planet, it is so dark and cold here, please let me return to the glorious light of Heaven.
But all God said to his forlorn angel was “Look around you T, see with my eyes and you will understand”
So he looked around him.
At first, all he saw was human beings milling around. They pushed by him with eyes that strained ahead looking sometimes angry, others afraid. Young and old, children and middle aged hurried by on their way through life, everyone seemingly as invisible as he was, to one another.
But ah! What was this?…In a shop doorway a young couple looking into one another’s eyes. For the first time that day the angel felt his heart lighten as he saw something that slightly resembled the love he had left behind. In the shop window gold and jewels sparkled and the couples eyes were on a beautiful ring of sapphires and pearls. “This must be it” thought T “This must be the most precious thing on earth that God wants me to take back to Heaven.
But even as he was thinking, things changed before his eyes. The man let go of the girl and his expression of love changed to one of anger and annoyance
“I cannot afford money like that” he said in a hard voice and her eyes filled with tears. “Am I not worth everything to you?” she asked and they walked away arguing, with slumped shoulders and downcast eyes.
The jewels in the window seemed to lose their sparkle and suddenly the angel saw the cheap tawdriness of the jewels of earth. So he wandered on through the town and into a park on the outskirts. Dejectedly he sat down on the grass under a tree.
“Oh God” he cried. “Won’t you take me back to your heaven where I belong, for surely there is nothing precious on this earth”
And all God said was “Look around you Thaddeus”
So again Thad looked around him and there on the grass a little way off he saw a young woman with a baby sitting on a rug. She was happy and played with the little one contentedly.
“This must be it” thought T as he watched, “Here is joy that resembles a little of the joy I know in Heaven. This surely must be a precious treasure on earth.
But suddenly, a cloud crossed the sun and the wind felt cold. The baby’s face changed and he began to cry as the Mother rushed to pick him up and putting him in his pushchair she hurried away with him still crying as she went.
“What shall I do?” T said desperately to God.
“Everything on this earth is spoiled and broken, there is no lasting treasure on earth”
“Look over there” said God
So the angel walked over to the shady cold corner that God had indicated. At first he did not see anything, then on a bench by the stone wall he noticed a young man.
He was roughly dressed, unshaven and shabby and Thaddeus could not see anything good or precious anywhere. But as he stood there watching he realised that the lips of the young man were moving in whispered words. Now a strange feeling came over the angel and he knew that he was witnessing something special.
He stood close to the young man and saw that tears were pouring down his face. He dropped his head into his hands and with a broken sobbing voice he said:
“Forgive me Oh God for I have done wrong. I have turned away from you and I am so sorry for the mess I have made of my life. I need you Lord, please help me!”
At that moment the sun broke through the clouds and fell on the young man resting on him and transforming him with its light. He raised his dirty tear stained face to the sun and whispered “My Lord and my God” and the tears that ran down his face and fell on the angel who knelt now beside him, were tears of repentance and joy that were the most precious things on earth.
And Thaddeus heard the unmistakeable shout of joy from Heaven as he gathered the tears in a small golden file and prepared to go home.
And nobody had to tell him that when he got back to Heaven there would be a party!