For the joy of the working

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted

When Earth’s last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it — lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew!

And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from — Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!

– Rudyard Kipling

One of the things I’m looking forward to the most in heaven is doing and enjoying good things perfectly. Loving to sing without becoming vain about my voice, loving someone else’s skill without becoming jealous of it, loving people without become possessive of them. That’s what this poem reminds me of.

This was painted by my father.

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3 responses

  1. I love that when you speak of doing things perfectly you emphasize doing it without sin, not getting the technique exact. Excellent reminder. And that last stanza is beautiful.

  2. I feel like earth’s picture is getting less and less beautiful as the days go by, but I thank God for painting a perfect eternity for us!

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