From “All Clear” by Connie Willis:
Polly had asked Mr. Goode to do the eulogy, remembering his sermon that day in Backbury. He spoke of [spoiler] and his bravery at Dunkirk and then said,
“We live in hope that the good we do here on earth will be rewarded in heaven. We also hope to win the war. We hope that right and goodness will triumph, and that when the war is won, we shall have a better world. And we work toward that end. We buy war bonds and put out incendiaries and knit stockings—”
And pumpkin-colored scarves, Polly thought.
“—and volunteer to take in evacuated children and work in hospitals and drive ambulances—”
Here Alf grinned and nudged Eileen sharply in the ribs.
“—and man anti-aircraft guns. We join the Home Guard and the ATS and the Civil Defence, but we cannot know whether the scrap metal we collect, the letter we write to a soldier, the vegetables we grow, will turn out in the end to have helped win the war or not. We act in faith.
“But the vital thing is that we act. We do not rely on hope alone, though hope is our bulwark, our light through dark days and darker nights. We also work, and fight, and endure, and it does not matter whether the part we play is large or small. The reason that God marks the fall of the sparrow is that he knows that it is as important to the world as the bulldog or the wolf. We all, all must do ‘our bit.’ For it is through our deeds that the war will be won, through our kindness and devotion and courage that we make that better world for which we long.
“So it is with heaven,” the vicar said. “By our deeds here on earth, in this world so far from the one we long for, we make heaven possible. We not only live in the hope of heaven but, by each doing our bit, we bring it to pass.”