I was in the seventh grade at Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School in Syracuse when word was spreading that the world was going to end on a particular day that was coming up soon. Whoever was spreading the news even gave us a time: 11 a.m. I don’t know if it was Eastern time, Pacific time, daylight savings time, Howdy Doody time, or what.
Other than that, the bearers of the grim news didn’t furnish details – not any that I remembered anyway. I did know that I was supposed to be in Mr. McLaughlin’s study hall at 11 a.m. on that day. Mr. McLaughlin was a mechanical arts teacher, which translated to the fact that he taught shop.
I liked Mr. McLaughlin. He was a nice man, and besides being a teacher, he lived in my neighborhood, was very friendly and was generous to the neighborhood kids at Halloween.
In shop, he taught me to make a scissors holder and even though I thought it looked like a block of wood with a hole in it my grandmother let it hang on a wall in her kitchen for 20 years.
A fire! Oh, no! It might be Lynn and Dennis’ house on fire and somebody might still be in it! The phone call had said as much.
My heart pounded as Ed and I grabbed our coats that bitter cold January day only to quickly realized we couldn’t get anywhere near the raging fire on County Route 85 where they lived because the road would be blocked off.
So we paced the floor and anxiously waited by the phone to hear from somebody — anybody — to let us know what was going on.
“I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands and they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” — Revelation 7:9-10
It is a joyous crowd and an amazing display of the mercy and grace of God…a wonderfully astounding sight like nothing else in the history of the world.
It is a sight that will cause, “all the angels to fall before the throne with their faces to the ground, worshipping God and singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen’.”