Days of heaven upon earth (70 years ago)

70 years ago — May 22, 1950

In 1866, David Livingstone returned to Great Britain after years as a mission worker in Africa. He went to Glasgow to receive a doctorate. Livingstone stood before students as they “looked upon his tall wasted figure; upon his arm, mutilated by the attack of the lion and hanging useless by his side; upon his face, furrowed deep with marching and fever.” He told them of his years in Africa of “hardship and home sickness, and then he said, ‘Do you know what made me strong to face and endure and love it all? It was the constant presence of him who said, ‘I am with you always.’” The days in Africa “had been to him days of heaven upon earth, because of the unseen presence that marched beside him. Days of heaven do not depend upon golden streets and jasper walls. … The soul who is living close to him need not wait till death to taste the bliss of the redeemed. Here upon this earth, walking these common streets, doing day by day our weary tasks, we may stand in the everlasting presence, and for us heaven is begun.”

From “Days of heaven upon earth” by Stuart Nye Hutchinson (moderator of the General Assembly, 1942-43)