Here is the text of the story/speech I’ll be sharing at Gung Gung’s memorial service. It’s not short, but I believe it’s worth reading to the end when you have the time.
As I mention in the text, I got much of the descriptive language from the book “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn. So I definitely can’t take credit for it. There were parts I tried to re-write with my own words, but Dr. Alcorn’s words were so appropriate, so perfect, I decided to copy them as they were. I thank God for creating a man with such skill to bring biblical truth to life. He has such a great imagination; he’s a literary genius with the way he weaves words and ideas together. What I’ve done is adapted his story to reflect what I believe happened to Gung Gung.
If you’re reading this at 3:00pm Arizona time, I’ll likely be at church preparing to deliver it.
This afternoon, I want to share a story with all of you. It’s an adaptation of the fictional book “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn. My intent is not to give a non-fictional or historical account of what actually happened, but to give an account of what might have happened. I’m sure the details aren’t exact, but I’m even more sure that the truth is exceedingly, abundantly better than anything I could imagine or capture with words on a page. My earnest hope and prayer with this story is that it will bring comfort to those who mourn, and peace to those who are restless.
Of course, those of us left here on earth miss him dearly, but as you’ll hear my cousin Jay talk about in a few minutes, those of us who are Christians can take solace in the fact that we will one day see Gung Gung again.
I recognize that Heaven is not time-bound, and consequently, words that denote time such as “then,” “before,” “after,” and even verb tenses aren’t applicable. But I’ve taken the artistic liberty of using them in this story.
This is the story of a journey. The journey Gung Gung took in the moments after he departed from this world and was transported into the next life.
With that, I give you, “Home at Last”.
Gung Gung opened his eyes. He found himself walking in a warm, natural light. His first thought was, “At last, the real world! The place I longed for all of my years on Earth.” But his thoughts were interrupted by a voice.
“He’s coming,” shouted someone on the other side. “Chuck Gin is coming.”
As he walked towards the commotion, he heard many voices in different languages. He heard English, Swahili, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, French, Persian, Spanish, and several Chinese dialects. Inexplicably, he understood what everyone was saying. It was amazing. People from every tribe and tongue and nation were here, living together under one flag, one King.
And then a face appeared in the crowd. It was a face he had last seen three months ago. But it seemed different this time. It was vibrant yet familiar; and the eyes were even brighter than he remembered. They were full of a vibrancy and vitality previously unbeknownst to him on Earth.
It was Po Po. His beloved wife of 63 years. She ran towards him, and they embraced.
“We have much to talk about,” Po Po told him in Toisan. “And I have much to show you. But first, I have been granted the honor of leading you before the Audience of One, the King of all Heaven.”
Po Po pointed towards a palace. Or was it a temple? Gung Gung hadn’t even noticed it amidst the excitement of all the people. He and Po Po began walking towards it. Now he saw the rolling hills in the distance. They were a greener green than he had ever know. And they were dotted with amazing structures of gleaming marble and gold.
Compared to what he saw now, the world he’d come from was a world of shadows, colorless and two-dimensional. This place was fresh and captivating, resonating with color and beauty. He could not only see and hear it, but feel and smell and taste it. This whole world had the feel of cool water on a blistering summer afternoon in Tucson. But it felt like so much more than that. It was a feeling he had never known on earth. He was filled with awe, amazement, hope and comfort.
“This is the path that leads to the throne,” Po Po explained. “I’ll take you to the outer area, but then only you shall proceed. I will see you at the celebration.”
Gung Gung began to walk down the marble pathway toward the great palace. The wooden doors must have been thirty feet high. A great doorkeeper, taller than any man looked at Gung Gung and nodded. He stepped aside, and the massive doors swung wide open. At that moment, Gung Gung saw at the far end of the palace The One sitting on a throne. He fell to his knees.
“Come in my faithful servant!” The voice was powerful, but filled with delight.
Gung Gung arose and marveled at the long bloodred carpet. It was over a meter wide, and embossed with gold. About every twenty feet there was an embroidered gold crown of thorns. The thorns seemed to actually come out of the carpet, but they did not pierce Gung Gung’s feet.
As he approached the throne, he saw that it was beautiful, but it was not as large or as majestic as he had imagined it would be. It was a chair clearly made by the hands of a great carpenter.
He came within 10 meters, and The One on the throne arose from it like a great lion and ran down the steps to Gung Gung. Overcome with emotion, Gung Gung fell to his knees again and wept with joy. He breathed deeply, inhaling the wonderful fragrance, feeling the King’s thick beard, and nestling his head in it as if it were a lion’s mane. It was simultaneously so humbling, yet so comforting.
The King pulled Gung Gung upward. They looked at each other face-to-face. There was a poignant pause. Gung Gung sensed the anticipation throughout the palace, and then noticed a great cloud of witnesses had gathered. Suddenly, the King lifted him off the ground, held him up with arms straight, and cried out in a voice that could be heard a million light years away.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant!” His voice roared like a lion’s, and his sweet hot breath blew across Gung Gung’s cheeks. “You were once Chuck Gin of Tucson, Arizona. You are now Chuck Gin of Heaven, the great city, capital of the eternal country without borders. You have been faithful over a little, and I will put you over much. Enter into the joy of your Lord!”
While Gung Gung tried to grasp what had just happened, thunderclaps exploded. It took a moment but then he realized it was applause. He now saw many coming through the side doors of the palace. The guards stepped aside, permitting them this irregularity, this violation of palace protocol, since they were the King’s own children. They rushed toward Gung Gung and the King. He was Home at Last!
And then Gung Gung saw something remarkable, something he had never imagined. Gung Gung saw the King’s hands clap against each other. The sound was so great it pushed him backward. It was the sound above all sounds, the sound for which his ears had been made and to which his hearing was now tuned. Never until this moment had my Gung Gung, my beloved grandfather, heard the applause of Heaven.