In glorious Memory of Keith Entwistle
Keith-Entwistle-adjusted2 (Medium)A few days ago. Keith Entwistle, Linda`s husband, fell off a ladder and broke his wrist in two places. He appeared to be recovering, but Linda found him unconscious the night before last and he had to be taken into A & E. He was diagnosed as having a major bleed in the brain that was too big to operate on. Very sadly he died a few hours later.

In so, so many ways Keith has been the perfect partner and soul mate for Linda, who will feel the loss so acutely. Over the years Linda has known much of the Lord`s heavenly presence; you will surely want to join in praying for the Host of Heaven to be especially real and close at hand, for Linda and her boys, Benjamin and Philip.

Keith was an exceptionally gifted and dearly loved man. Fittingly, he had been on retreat last week, where he had a wonderful sense of completion; that all the threads of his life had been pulled together and that there was no more healing needed. What a motivation to us all to keep short odds: to bless and forgive all and any we may have been holding out against, in order that the fullness of God`s Spirit may flow freely through us!

Keith is not going to be spending eternity refining his percussion technique! He who was close to the Lord`s heart remains close. We can be very confident that He will be continuing His ministry in Heaven, from where the Lord will surely find ways to ensure that many on earth benefit. As with the death of David Hall, we feel strongly that there is something powerful and prophetic about the Lord `transferring` Keith to Heaven at this time.

Everyone whose path has crossed Keith`s will treasure memories of his ebullient humour and steadying presence. He was always quietly and deeply aware of what was going on in the hearts of the people around him. What a welcome he will be receiving in Heaven!

The veil between this world and the Lord`s own domain has long been a thin one for Keith. He had grown used to `plunging` deep in the Lord`s presence during his years at the retreat centre in Wales. Keith understood the richness of colour and texture in sounds as deeply as anyone I have ever known. He also brought the imprint of hid years of `hermit` ministry into his marriage, as well as sharing his love, wisdom, music and art with so many others.

As Richard Williamson wrote, `Keith was a man of so much gifting and many talents. His sense of humour, his ability to draw alongside everyone he met bringing healing and hope, his amazingly creative playing and above all his deep friendship will be irreplaceable . . . Words are not enough but what an inspiration and example of spiritual maturity, Christ-like love, sacrificial service, childlike playfulness and so much infectious joy.’

As Laurie Klein wrote:
We are shocked and saddened to hear Keith is gone. We feel honored to have known him a little. What a glorious partnership. I can’t help thinking Heaven must have resounded the moment he crossed over: tympanic rolls, fills, and flams! Keith lives in our memories as a godly, generous, spritely soul, and a man of impeccable artistry.

Even in death Keith is bringing life. A perfect match has been found for his heart which they had decided together to donate. Linda is so pleased about this.

Jesus was most insistent that we should never forget for one moment that He is not the God of the dead but of the living, and that “Those who die in Him will be as angels.” (Luke 20:36, 38) As Matthew Henry reminds us “They will see the same sights as angels, share the same joys and be employed in the same work.”

In that sense, why should Heaven itself not be magnificently progressive? Much though we love the thought of an endless park-like paradise (and Paradise most certainly is a biblical concept) a park is unlikely to reflect the full scope of Heaven’s activity – especially if we associate “park” with cartoon images of harps and fleecy clouds! Ubiquitous ‘Rest in Peace’ epigraphs on gravestones are altogether too lacking in awe and dynamism and worship, implying a purely passive state: “you’ve done your work and now you deserve your rest!’

C.S. Lewis is surely nearer the mark in the refrain he uses in The Last Battle when Aslan invites the children to go ‘further on and further in’. In other words, rather than just arriving in Heaven in order to enjoy eternal repose, is it not more probable that there will be progression in our worship and service of the Lord God of Hosts? After all, Jesus is returning to earth in order to redeem it and to rule with His saints. (cf Rev. 19:11ff) Has He not promised that those who have shown themselves faithful in little will also be entrusted with true riches? (Luke 16:11, cf 19:11-26)

Some years ago, when David Hall was taken suddenly to heaven through a heart attack, Linda and I had more or less identical visions of him in glory, along with the sense that there was something very powerful and prophetic about the Lord “transferring” this man’s ministry from Earth to Heaven. The wonderful truth for those who are in the Lord is that this “end” is but another and yet greater beginning.

As part of the Reawakenings CD I wrote, `How poor the outlook of those who think the dead in Christ are merely dead and gone; they are never more alive than when serving the Lord God of Hosts in the courts of highest Heaven.`

As a tribute we are releasing two tracks from these CDS. The first is a deeply felt passage called The Passing by Amy Carmichael, in which Keith accompanies Andrew Whettam, who was playing the marimba.

Amy was an exceptionally heroic missionary who ministered to abused girls in India. In this short extract she shares the dying moments of a young girl as she passed out of reach of this world`s suffering and into the Lord`s presence. As she recorded, All three of us were privileged to see the same thing: no trace of pain was left on that face that had been so racked, as her soul sped to the place where sin is quite unknown. The three of us had been permitted to follow her to the very border of the Land of Joy, where things unseen are revealed forever.

If the spray from the edge of the pool can be like this what must the fountain of joy itself be like?

And we who are left, hold with joy every remembrance of the nearness and the dearness of that Heavenly Kingdom as we live surrounded by so many weighty reminders of this world`s woes. Listen here

The second piece is very short, and is one of Linda`s more exuberant tracks: Burst into Song, on which Keith, as so often, plays percussion.

May the words and music minister deeply to your spirits! Listen here