Chapter 22 Enjoying Zion

A cheer erupted around the stadium.

Bull punched the air with one fist and flung his other arm around Harmony’s neck. Harmony had never been to a football game before and wasn’t sure of all the rules, but she was revelling in the unbridled enthusiasm on display.

Teams were organised on an ad-hoc basis with those who had signed up choosing a coloured shirt when they arrived. Matches were always enjoyed by both the players and the crowd, many of whom came several nights a week to watch the game and spend time with friends. Women and men played together, their resurrection bodies of equal strength and ability.

Jesus had overseen the development of each village, small town and city area in Zion and had included architectural ideas from the wide range of human civilisations across history. Structures were mainly grouped together with others of a similar style with the natural environment complementing the buildings and often intertwining with them to create unique new dwellings. More akin to a country than a city, Zion sprawled across the New Earth in such a way that no one could quite comprehend its vast expanse.

There were angels everywhere, fun and sometimes mischievous, regularly making people laugh. Unlike the image that had been prevalent in the Previous Age, angels were not always dressed in white robes with feathered wings protruding from their backs. Most usually chose to wear ordinary, practical clothes, but they were identified by a sash across their chests.

Many of the inhabitants of Zion had suffered terribly in the Previous Age but had followed Ruach’s leading through their trials. Some had been faithful followers of Jesus’ teaching as it echoed through the centuries, while others had not heard his name but had responded to the call of agape love within their hearts.

Each community in Zion contained centres of learning with large and spacious classrooms where people could learn about other cultures, languages and customs. This greatly helped them to serve in the many different communities on the New Earth beyond Zion’s walls. People from every tribe and nation offered classes where their experience and insights were passed on. Classes were places where friendships and laughter were shared and deeply healing discussions could take place.

Music echoed down many of the streets and could be heard from open doorways, parks and gardens. There was a place for every kind of music to be performed, from Dixieland jazz to chamber string quartets, and from hip-hop beats to Gregorian chants. People played instruments for pleasure in their dwellings, while others danced and moved to the rhythms they could hear.

Culinary aromas wafted along the streets of urban areas. Cuisine from every age and from all around the world was being prepared constantly, but with succulent plant-based versions where meat had once been used. Animals were no longer killed for food, and food was no longer eaten for survival. Eating was for pleasure, social interaction and sheer exploration of flavour.

As a young boy, Bull had once visited a five-star hotel with his grandparents. During their brief stay, he had marvelled at the incredible choice of dishes laid out in the buffet. He had wanted to try everything! His experience of Zion had reignited and enhanced this sense of childish wonder and excitement.

Bull and Harmony were enjoying the buzz created by the sights and smells of the food stalls that lined the street as they walked back to their dwellings after the game had finished.

“Wow, these smell incredible – shall we get some?” Bull suggested as they stopped in front of a stall where steaming hot food was being prepared.

“Jerk wrap? Burritos?” asked the man behind the stall.

“Oh, I love that jerk marinade. Want one, Harmony?” 

“I’ve never tried it, but I’ll give it a go.”

“How much?” asked Bull.

“One talent each,” said the man with a sunny grin. “Best jerk in Zion!”

With experienced hands, the man assembled two jerk wraps and handed them to Bull and Harmony, wrapped in large green leaves.

“Probably the only jerk in Zion, right?” asked Bull.

“No. There’s a brother the other side of the river with a jerk stall. He’s amazing, but I like to think my recipe has just the edge,” the man said proudly, handing Bull and Harmony some napkins.

“Thanks, mate,” said Bull. “Where are you from?”

“Trinidad, twenty-first century. I came to Zion at the beginning of this jubilee.”

“Welcome home!” said Harmony.

“Sure is home! Jesus said I was ready and I’m so happy to be here.”

“Where were you before? Which community?”

The man smiled. “When I was resurrected Jesus placed me in a community of former street children, all from the West Indies. We all knew how tough it was to grow up fending for ourselves.”

“And you got here after just one jubilee?”

“Yes. As soon as I was raised, I knew Ruach was asking me to serve my new community by cooking for them. Back in Trinidad I’d used chicken and pork, but I discovered new plant-based recipes and opened a kitchen where I could train other people too.”

“That’s beautiful to hear, and this is truly delicious,” said Harmony.

“I knew Ruach when I was on the streets in the Previous Age. I knew her as a warming presence in my chest that I could feel but couldn’t see. Sometimes she felt like a strong emotion, and other times like an idea in my mind that somehow seemed to light up the way ahead. I knew she kept me from taking the wrong path and from doing harm to others, even though violence sometimes looked like the easiest way to get through.”

“So, you could feel her guidance?” asked Bull.

“Yeah, I sure did. Every day. My mother told me about her and how I should listen to her voice before she died when I was seven.”

“What’s your name?” asked Harmony.

“Eddie,” replied the man with a broad grin.

“Great to meet you, Eddie,” said Harmony. “You’ve given us much hope for those in our communities today.”

“It’s so good to be reminded that there are people who are ready to enter Zion, even after just one jubilee,” said Bull as he and Harmony continued along the street, finishing off their tasty snack. “By the way, what time are we meeting Yvonne?”

“Oh, that’s right. There’s a composer giving a recital of a new work that Yvonne wanted to hear.”

The two friends made their way through the city, taking time to enjoy and take in the various sights with dancing water features, huge rockeries full of flowers in bloom and avenues of ornamental trees. The atmosphere was peaceful in one area and full of mirth and merriment in another, yet everywhere felt friendly and welcoming.


The recital ended in a thrilling crescendo of sound. The audience sat for a moment, enraptured, before everyone rose to their feet and applauded with huge enthusiasm.

“I’ve never heard anything like that before,” said Bull, shaking his head in wonder.

“It’s certainly been worth the long wait for a new work,” said Yvonne, beaming at him as they continued to applaud the composer, who was gesturing for his orchestra to stand once again, showing them off with pride to the auditorium.

“One day I’ll take you to hear some rock and roll,” said Harmony. “You’ll love Elvis!”

“Oh, I do love Elvis!” shouted Bull over the thunderous applause. “My dad used to play Elvis in the car when I was a boy. I wonder if he’s here yet?”

“One day everyone will be here,” laughed Harmony.

After the concert, the three of them walked back to their rooms animatedly discussing the genres of music they each preferred and making the very most of their last evening in Zion before returning to their communities.