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ARCHIE KENNEDY'S REWARD
By Tracy Prebish

 

Rated; PG 13

When the idea for this story came to me, this song came into my mind only minutes after, so I decided to add it to the story.

YOU ARE MINE

I will come to you in the silence,
I will lift you form all you fear.
You will hear my voice,
I claim you as my choice,
Be still and know I am here.

I am hope for all who are hopeless,
I am eyes for all who long to see.
In the shadows of the night,
I will be your light,
Come and rest in me.

Do not be afraid I am with you.
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me,
I will bring you home;
I love you and you are mine.

I am strength for all the despairing,
Healing for the ones who dwell in shame.
All the blind will see,
The lame will all run free,
And all will know my name.

I am the word that leads all to freedom,
I am the peace the world cannot give.
I will call your name,
Embracing all your pain,
Stand up, now walk, and live!

Do not be afraid I am with you.
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me,
I will bring you home;
I love you and you are mine.

 

*****************************************

 

Kingston, Jamaica
January 22, 1802

 

"Poor Horatio." Archie whispered softly, "So quick to give. So slow to accept the simplest of gifts. You've done the same for me, and others besides, a thousand times."

"But never at such a dear cost."

"Just take what I offer." Archie was beginning to weep, "Take it, and say good-bye."

"Archie, I...." Horatio had to stop himself from saying what he wanted to say. That he had loved Archie as the brother he had never had, but he did not believe those words were appropriate. He sought the right words and finally said, "I am honored to have served with you."

Archie did not quite manage to suppress the sob as he replied , "And I to have known you." Finally, and characteristically, he gave a small chuckle, "You see? Better already." Suddenly, he felt a terrible pain and everything turned black.

 

 

For a very long time there was nothing.

Then a light began to grow, and Archie heard a voice calling his name from where the light was. He moved toward it. He had never heard this voice before, but there was something about it....

As he neared the voice he saw a beautiful, massive gate that looked like it was made of gold. There was a man in a white robe, with white hair and a white beard standing next to the gate. He had a large book in front of him. He smiled at Archie, "Come, son. We have been waiting for you."

"You have?" Archie asked, surprised, "Who are you?"

"I am Peter." The man replied.

"St. Peter?" Archie couldn't believe it.

"Yes, son." Peter smiled, "Come and take your place."

"There must be some mistake, sir." Archie shook his head, "I do not belong here."

Peter quietly laughed, "God does not make mistakes, Archie. You do belong here."

"But I've killed men, sir." Archie pointed out, "And I tried to kill myself. I've lied - under oath! And I've hated others. I am not good enough to merit Heaven."

Peter smiled fondly at him, "You have killed others in battle. You lied to protect another. You only hated those who had hurt you, but you never acted against them. And you starved yourself so your shipmates would not have to concern themselves with you, and could leave. These were not the acts of a bad man."

Archie shook his head again, not believing he deserved to be there.

"Come, son." Peter put his arm over Archie's shoulder and turned him to a place in the clouds that was completely blank.

While Archie stared at it, he saw his entire life played out before him from the moment he was conceived. He felt the sting of tears when he watched what had happened on Justinian and in prison, and felt St. Peter tighten his hold on him. Finally, he saw his death, and then there was nothing. He remained silent, trying to understand what was happening.

"As you have just witnessed, Archie," Peter looked at him, "you have never treated anyone cruelly, and have always tried to help those in need."

"But I've sinned." Archie insisted.

"Everyone has sinned, my boy." Peter told him, "Do you not remember what our Savior said? 'What you do to one of these least ones, you do to me'. You have treated others the way God wanted you to. You have fulfilled your destiny. Now, take your place in paradise."

A tear tracked down his cheek as Archie shook his head once more, "I don't deserve paradise."

"Archie," A voice suddenly boomed, "you have earned your place in Heaven. Come home, my son."

How can I belong here, Archie thought, when men have....?

"What those men wanted was not your desire." The voice told him, "You did not commit that sin. You have accomplished what I created you for, Archie. Now it is time for you to come home."

Archie looked at St. Peter, not daring to hope.

"Go, Archie." Peter said, "God is waiting for you."

Archie turned toward the gates to see Jesus standing with open arms.

"Come, Archie." The Lord said, "My Father has prepared a place for you."

Ignoring the tears that were sliding down his face, Archie started toward Him. When he walked through the gate, everything stopped. The pain. The shame. Even the tears. He had never felt such peace, such joy, or the abundance of love that he was now experiencing. He was free of all of the pain - emotional and physical - that he had suffered. All of it was gone. The feeling was overwhelming!

Then the Lord moved before him and embraced him, "Welcome home, Archie."

 

 

THE END