1 Resurrections 

Johan sensed light around him, like waking from a deep sleep to morning sunshine. Opening his eyes, he remained motionless. Slowly he began to feel his body. He touched his legs with his palms and turned his head from side to side. Was it a dream or had he really been travelling toward a light in a vast black space? The last thing he remembered with any certainty was blowing out a lantern in the dank dugout he shared with Wilhelm and two new recruits.

Looking around he saw that he was in a living room very similar to the one he had known in his childhood. It was light and airy with large windows overlooking a landscape of rolling hills. The sofa on which he was lying was so comfortable that he felt as though he was floating. Somehow, this place felt just like home, although he was sure he had never been there before.

To his right were folded clothes. Dry, soft clothes were a distant memory. He felt like a child getting into cosy pyjamas as he put them on.

Johan wondered if he had been injured. Was he in some sort of hospital? As he tried hard to remember anything about what had happened since snuffing out the lantern, he heard footsteps, and a door to his left opened. A face peered around the door.

“Johan,” said the face, olive-skinned with thick dark wavy hair and a short beard. It was like an old friend greeting him with affection.

Johan smiled back, but with some puzzlement. The friendly face continued with a warm smile, “I know, it’s confusing. Come with me, and all will become clear. All is well.”

Johan followed the man through a short entrance hall into a kitchen.

This side of the house glowed with a welcoming hue that reminded Johan of firelight. Sitting at a wooden table was a figure that shimmered like a rainbow. Johan could clearly make out the being’s shape and form but other features were hard to define.

The dark-haired man pulled out a chair from under the table and signalled Johan to take a seat.

“This is Ruach,” he said.

The being’s eyes seemed to take in the totality of Johan, both inside and out. Far from feeling self-conscious, Johan felt seen, welcomed and understood. The man placed a steaming mug on the table in front of him.

“Black coffee, no sugar.”

Johan looked at the mug and then back at the man.

“That’s how I like it,” he said, bewildered.

“You’re probably wondering where you are?”

Johan took a sip of the coffee. It was hot but didn’t burn his mouth. He looked at the man and nodded, still trying to remember what had happened.

“My name is Jesus.”

Johan nearly spat out the coffee he was savouring. Jesus and Ruach chuckled, and Johan laughed nervously with them as he composed himself.

“This is our home, and you are our guest,” Jesus continued.

“Wh… why am I here?” stuttered Johan.

“Your time in the Previous Age has ended. In other words, you died.”

“Dead?” Johan’s eyes opened wide.

“It was very quick. You had no time to realise,” Ruach reassured him.

“How?” asked Johan, trying to grasp what was happening.

“A shell hit your dugout. It killed you and three others,” replied Ruach.

“What? I had no idea. So, wait, is this … is this it? Am I in Heaven?”

“Don’t worry, all will become clear,” said Jesus.

“This is our time to look at your existence so far – your experiences during the Previous Age, what you have learned and where we go from here,” continued Ruach.

Johan took a deeper breath. “I see,” he said. “So, if I died with the other three, why aren’t they here too? Where’s Wilhelm?”

“Everyone gets their own time with us,” Jesus replied. “Every person has their own unique journey.”

“So this is like an appraisal of my life? Wait! Isn’t that what’s called Judgement Day?”

“We think that sounds a little severe,” said Jesus.

“I heard that God’s judgement was supposed to be severe.”

“Sometimes it can appear so,” replied Ruach. “However, this is more like a discussion. Everything we do is because we love each person with unfailing agape love.”

Johan thought for a moment. Questioning Jesus and Ruach seemed at once both strange and absolutely necessary. Desiring to know as much as possible, he continued.

“What does unfailing agape love mean?”

Jesus smiled and looked Johan in the eye. It was unnerving, yet  somehow thrilling.

“It means the highest, purest type of love. Our love for people will not fail to seek the best for them. It comes in many forms to restore and reconcile creation.”

This sounded rather idealistic to Johan, who had seen too much violence in his short existence to comprehend quite what Jesus meant.

“Ok, so if you love everyone, does everyone just go to Heaven?”

Jesus pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. “What do you mean by Heaven?”

“A place where good people go to be with God after they die,” replied Johan.

“Well, that would not be our definition,” said Jesus with a smile.

“What about Hell?” asked Johan nervously.

“Well, we don’t have any lakes of fire, if that is what you are worried about.”

That was actually what Johan was worried about, and he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Which brings us to you, Johan,” said Ruach.

“Me?” whispered Johan. He bowed his head, suddenly feeling emotional. “I know what I am. I am a soldier – a man of war.”

“That is not what defines you,” said Jesus firmly. “You could not help where and when you were born. What matters is your heart.”

Ruach nodded, “The circumstances you found yourself in were ugly, but your heart is beautiful. I saw you giving the last of your water to captive soldiers. I saw you hold your dying captain until he was gone, even though he belittled you every day.”

Johan began to well up.

“But, but didn’t you see all the times I failed? I couldn’t save my captain, and I know our army did horrific things. I did things I am ashamed of.”

“I saw,” said Ruach tenderly. “But I know your heart hated that which was evil.”

“But I swore an oath to the Fuhrer.” 

“You will get a chance to make new commitments.” Jesus said, reaching across the table and placing a hand on Johan’s wrist. Johan looked up, tears rolling down his cheeks.

“How can I live a better life? What must I learn to do?”  he asked.

Ruach leaned in towards him, her presence somehow calming.

“We have a place for you. You will get to explore our agape love without the constraints of the Previous Age. How would you like to help care for some of our children?”

“Children? There are children here?”

“Yes, children who die in the Previous Age still get to grow up. They are placed with relatives who have been raised into this age.”

“My sister!” gasped Johan.

Jesus and Ruach beamed as Johan realised that he was about to be reunited with his little sister, Gertrude, who had died when she was seven years old.


Yuri opened his eyes and immediately jumped up. It wasn’t unusual for Yuri to find himself in an alien environment. He must have blacked out, or been drugged and kidnapped. As soon as he had cast his eyes over the room, there was a knock at the door to his left. Yuri spun around, fists balled.

“Christ!” he yelled with surprise, alarmed that he might be joined by a stranger.

“That’s right,” chuckled Jesus.

“Huh?” replied Yuri, confused and coiled like a spring.

“Why don’t you put your clothes on?” offered Jesus from behind the door.

Yuri didn’t say anything, but his fists relaxed a little. To Yuri’s right was a rail with some familiar-looking clothes hanging on it. He grabbed the first things that came to hand and pulled them on roughly.

Striding over to the door, he jerked it open and saw a man leaning up against the wall just outside.

“Do you like your clothes?” Jesus asked.

Yuri stayed silent, feeling awkward. His eyes looked the man up and down and he wondered what this stranger wanted.

“Come through?” beckoned Jesus with an open arm, pointing across a hall to the kitchen.

“Where’s the boss?” said Yuri curtly. “I want to see your boss.”

“I don’t have a boss,” Jesus answered gently. “You can meet my friend though. She’ll be along shortly.”

“What do you want with me?” Yuri felt increasingly aware of how little he knew. If there was one thing he hated, it was not being in control.

“Come on through,” repeated Jesus.

“You first,” demanded Yuri.

Jesus nodded and held the door open.

Tentatively, Yuri stepped into the kitchen. His eyes furtively searched the room for anything he could use as a weapon, but there were no knives – not even a rolling pin.

Jesus gestured toward a seat that was pulled out from the wooden kitchen table. It was the kind of table Yuri had spent hours at, hunched over a deck of cards, chain-smoking Marlboro Reds and knocking back vodka.

“I’ll stand,” insisted Yuri. “Where is this friend of yours?”

“She’ll be along in a minute,” said Jesus, hardly able to contain an excited smile.

Jesus turned around and poured out a short drink. He slid the glass along the worktop towards Yuri.


Yuri looked at the glass and, not wanting to give away any sign of weakness, slung the shot back and slammed the glass down on the worktop.

His eyes lit up and he stood up straight.

Jesus smiled. “We want you to feel welcome here.”

The door at the back of the kitchen burst open and a shimmering being entered with a large German Shepherd dog.

Yuri gasped, “Gulag? It… it… can’t be!”

The dog bounded across the room and began to smother Yuri, who had dropped to his knees.

“Gulag! You’re alive!” Yuri laughed, shocked yet delighted.

He looked up at Jesus and the figure who stood next to him, still running his hands over Gulag as the dog repeatedly circled him, tail wagging furiously.

“How is this possible?” he asked, losing his defensiveness in the wonder of the moment.

“We raise and restore. It’s what we do. Love endures forever and we know what this means for you both,” Ruach replied, joy radiating from her face.

“Ok. You have my attention. What do you want?”

“The only thing we would like is for you to sit with us and talk for a while,” Jesus replied.

Yuri rose from the floor and sat down in a chair with Gulag at his feet, gazing up at him devotedly.

“Just let us fill you in,” said Jesus, sitting down at the table.

Ruach cut some bread and then joined them with offerings of butter and jam.

“Tuck in if you like.”

Yuri‘s mouth watered but he defiantly ignored the food.

“Well, go on,” he demanded.

Jesus began.

“This is Ruach.”

Yuri took in the shimmering colours emanating from her form. She was unlike anything he’d ever seen, and although he wanted to stare at her, he lowered his gaze.

“We are here because we love you. We’ve been with you your whole life, and we are going to be discussing what you did and what was done to you. You have passed from the Previous Age, and we are responsible for you.”

“Everything we say and do is for your ultimate good,” added Ruach.

Yuri’s face darkened.

“I’m dead? But I’m alive? But… ” Yuri stopped, rendered speechless.

“You have passed over from the Previous Age, where you were conceived, born and began your journey as a human being. Your Previous Age body died of sudden heart failure after you were ambushed. Your life was full of violence – violence against you, and violence by your hand. However, the essence of who you are, your spirit, is greater than your body and the things you did. We are here to help you understand this.” Jesus paused to allow this to sink in.

Yuri’s eyes were locked on Jesus. He was listening but struggling to take in the fact that he was no longer living his life as he knew it.

“Everybody, including you, was made for loving relationships and deep connections with those around them. For reasons that we shall explore, you have not experienced this. We have ways to help you discover this wonderful way of living, but you’ll have to learn to trust us.”

“Trust you? I don’t even know who you are?” Yuri yelled indignantly.

“You see Gulag?” asked Ruach.

Yuri’s face softened at the sight of Gulag’s adoring eyes staring back at him.

“We are the ones who give life. We are the ones with the creative means to restore all things and encourage reconciliation. All things that were born, lived and shared in our great gift of life, these things are being made new and encouraged to mature.”

“You sound like you are playing God.”

Jesus smiled. “That’s an interesting expression.” 

“So, you are God?” snapped Yuri.

“Well, it depends on what you mean by God.” 

Yuri was stumped again for a second.

“Isn’t God almighty? If you’re saying I was evil, aren’t I meant to be damned? I never believed in God anyway, but if this afterlife bullshit is actually real, shouldn’t I be thrown into the flames or something like that?”

Ruach drew Yuri’s attention.

“We aren’t into torture. We are more interested in encouraging your journey into pure, unfailing love: agape love. That’s what all of this is about.”

“The only thing I ever loved was this dog!”

“And that’s why we start with him,” responded Ruach, warmly.

“If you’re not ready to talk with us, you can wait with Gulag for as long as you need. Just head back into the living room.”

Yuri hesitated. He was caught between two options, both of which left him feeling powerless and weakened. He was not used to this.

“No, I’ll stay,” he said abruptly.

“I’m glad,” replied Jesus.

Yuri fixed his eyes on Jesus.

“How would you describe your life?” Jesus asked.

Yuri considered his response for a few seconds.

“I learned that the only way to survive was to be the top dog. If you gave me life, then why are you blaming me for trying to live it? You don’t know anything. You don’t know what it’s like to be born poor and to be abused.”

For the first time, Yuri saw Jesus’ face turn more serious.

“Actually, I do. But this isn’t about me. We aren’t here to condemn you.”

“So, if I’m guilty? Then give me what I deserve. If you’re really God, then you can strike me, or torment me, or snuff me out! Yes, I had a shit life. Well done! Well done God for giving me a shit life.” Yuri sarcastically clapped his hands in mock applause.

Jesus looked Yuri firmly in the eye.

“Yuri, I realise you…”

“Fuck off!” interrupted Yuri. “I’m done with this. Get me out of here.”

Jesus nodded.

“Ok. You can go out of that door if you want to leave.” Jesus pointed to the back door.

Yuri got up with Gulag following him.

“Fuck this!” he cursed as he strode out of the room, slamming the door behind him.


Fran was aware of the sound of her own breathing and opened her eyes. Looking around she found herself on a very comfortable sofa in a living room that felt somewhat familiar. Fran was immediately excited, but at once also embarrassed to find she was naked. Looking down at her body she was thrilled to see it was youthful again. With a great sense of relief, she saw a wardrobe with open doors across the room; it was full of clothes that looked like hers. She hurried over and got herself dressed.

Fran didn’t have to know everything to guess that she wasn’t in Hell and was therefore probably about to meet God. She rubbed her hands together, and as she did so, she noticed that all her liver spots had disappeared and her whole body was zinging with life. She was impressed with how real everything felt.

Fran tried to recollect her final memories. She remembered that she had skin cancer and had been surrounded by her children and her grandchildren in the hospital bed. She remembered the beeps of the machines keeping her sedated and the foreign nurses with their accents that she didn’t like. However, she was pleased that she couldn’t recall the actual moment of death.

Fran began to look around the room. It was simply furnished and illuminated with what she presumed was sunlight. Fran felt that maybe God’s living room could be a little more impressive and wondered why she was on her own.

She noticed a door next to the sofa and couldn’t help but open it. There was a moderately-sized entrance hall and another door with a frosted-glass panel. Whatever was behind that door glowed with a warm orange light.

Fran crossed the hall and strained to hear any noises that might give her a clue as to what lay behind it.

Without warning the door opened and a man with wavy black hair, olive skin and a short beard stood facing her. He smiled.

“Fran,” said the man with a welcoming warmth.

“Yes. Hello,” said Fran. “Who are you?”

“I’m Jesus,” replied the man.

Fran couldn’t prevent a perturbed look from crossing her face.  “You’re Jesus Christ?”

Jesus smiled.

“The Son of God? The Lord?” Fran continued, her voice high-pitched with surprise.

“Some might say that.” Jesus seemed slightly amused.

“But you’re so… you’re so…”

Jesus stood smiling, waiting for Fran to finish.

“Not what you had in mind?” he eventually chuckled as Fran continued to search for the right words.

“Well, no, it’s… I don’t…,” she stuttered.

“Come on in,” invited Jesus, holding out an arm to keep the door open. Fran couldn’t help but notice a large ugly scar on Jesus’ wrist as she passed him and entered the kitchen.

“Francesca!” said a being, seated at the table, radiating an attractive glow.

“This is Ruach,” explained Jesus.

“Who?” said Fran, curtly.

“You may have known me as ‘the Holy Ghost’ or ‘the Holy Spirit’,” said Ruach.

“Right! Ok! So I have the Son and the Holy Ghost,” said Fran slowly. “Where is the Father?”

“Papa leaves this bit to us,” replied Jesus.

“This bit?” questioned Fran.

“Yes, it’s your… let’s call it… appraisal. We’re going to talk through your life in the Previous Age.”

“Previous Age? Oh, Ok. I’m in Heaven though, right? This is the ‘age to come’?”

“It’s one of them,” replied Ruach.

“Here,” said Jesus as he put a cream soda float in front of Fran.

She was delighted. “Goodness! I haven’t had one of these since I was a child.”

Fran took a sip and smacked her lips excitedly.

“So, I’m very pleased to be here in Heaven. I always knew I would be coming here. Is it true I get a mansion?”

Jesus looked back at Fran with a slightly furrowed brow.

“Slow down a bit, Fran,” he said with an unsettling seriousness. “We have to talk about some things first.”

“Why?” Fran said obstinately. “I believed in you and went to church every Sunday. I have always been a Christian. And now for my reward!”

Jesus took a seat next to Fran at the kitchen table.

“Fran, firstly you must understand that we love you. Love is above all. But, we desire that you come to fully choose agape love. This is our hope for everyone.”

“Whatever do you mean? I loved my friends and my family as best I could. This is not what I expected from you, Jesus!” she said crossly. “You said there would be no condemnation for those in… well… you.”

“What do you think that means?” asked Jesus, with a kindness in his eyes that irritated Fran.

“So, am I going to Heaven or not?” she demanded.

“Fran, you are now on the New Earth. It can feel like Heaven, or it can feel like what some might call Hell. Your attitude and desires will determine how you perceive things. You are the only one who can determine your openness to agape love,” Ruach explained.

“That is not what I was told,” said Fran, arms folded in a child-like sulk. “All that going to church for this?”


Adilah stirred, stretched out her arms above her head and yawned. A rush of endorphins made her feel good. Expecting it to wear off and be replaced with the usual aches, Adilah was surprised to feel a teeming joyful buzz pulsating through her body. She opened her eyes to find herself in a room with log walls. Golden light streamed through the windows and she could smell something cooking nearby. She sat up and found herself on a sofa.

Adilah didn’t really mind where she was, because she immediately felt safe. She had not felt safe for such a long time. Maybe she had been given a new life as a rich person, she wondered. She reached up and touched her face. The injury that had marred her appearance had gone. Delighted, she reached up to where previously the wounds had robbed her of her hair. She laughed out loud as she ran her fingers through her hair and looked around for a mirror. She saw some beautiful dresses hanging on a rail. Realising her nakedness, she was pleased to get dressed. The clothes were exquisitely made and fitted her perfectly.

She heard a knock at the door to her left.

“Hello?” she called softly, nervous to meet anyone in this mysterious place.

“Hello Adilah,” called back a voice. “May I come in?”

“Yes,” answered Adilah politely, presuming the voice belonged to the owner of this home.

The door opened with a slight creak. A man peered around the door smiling and holding a hand mirror. Somehow, despite all she’d been through at the hands of men, she sensed this man was not a threat to her. There was a kindness in his eyes like nothing she had ever encountered before.

“Here,” he offered her the mirror.

Adilah took it in her hands and shrieked out loud, clasping a hand to her mouth. Looking back at her was her reflection. She was clearly still Adilah, a young woman from West Africa, but her facial scars had completely gone.

“Uncle, I do not understand!” she gasped.

“Adilah, your time of healing has come. You are safe here.”

“Where am I?”

“You are a guest in my house. Please, would you come and meet my friend.”

Adilah didn’t need to be convinced. She stood up, ready to follow Jesus. He led her across a short hall into a kitchen.

Adilah gasped.

“Oh, Friend! Is that really you?”

Ruach came across the room and the walls were ablaze with colours as she took Adilah in her arms. She wrapped her in a hug that felt like being held by the very source of love itself.

In the embrace, Adilah felt her consciousness expand past both her body and the room and begin to fill the surroundings of the house. In every direction, she felt a euphoric freedom emanate from her inner being.

Ruach began to gently loosen the cosmic hug and Adilah’s consciousness gently retracted back to her body.

“Friend, I knew one day I would see you.” Adilah’s tears flowed freely.

Jesus stirred Adilah’s favourite drink, deeply moved by the encounter.

“Friend, you were always with me and somehow … within me. Even when I hurt the most, even as I was dying, you never left me. I couldn’t see you, but I knew your voice, I knew your presence.”

Ruach gently ran her hand down Adilah’s cheek, wiping her tears away.

Adilah looked at Jesus.

“I beg your pardon, Uncle, but I don’t know your name?”

“You can call me Jesus,” he said, passing Adilah a glass of mixed fruit juice.

“Jesus? I thank you.” Adilah slightly bowed her head as she accepted the drink.

“What has happened to me?” she asked, timidly.

“You died and we raised you,” replied Jesus.

“But how? How is it you can you do this for me?”

“We have life to give. We do this for every single person. Everyone is special, a one off, and everyone is loved,” added Ruach.

Adilah suddenly became anxious.

“Every person? The militia? Are they here too?”

“You are safe now,” answered Jesus.

“Ok, but where am I?” asked Adilah, still unsure how safe she really was.

“You are on the New Earth. We are in the next age now. This is a time of deep healing for all. But Adilah, you know much of the ways of agape love already.”

Agape love?”

“Yes, my darling Adilah, the highest form of love,” replied Ruach. “And we have prepared a place for you.”

“I do not deserve this,” whispered Adilah.

Ruach leaned slightly closer to her.

“You were always worthy of our love. The suffering you experienced in the Previous Age and the way your heart was so open have prepared you for what is to come.”