A cheer erupted around the stadium.
Bull punched the air over and over with one fist whilst his other arm was flung around Harmony’s neck.
Harmony had never been to a football game before but was rather enjoying the whole affair.
Teams were organised ad-hoc and games were always enjoyed with great relish by both the players who had signed up to take part, and the crowd who came several nights a week. Some would choose a coloured shirt to play for and others would simply enjoy watching a game and the spend time with friends. As resurrected bodies were of equal strength, men and women played together as equals.
Walking around the streets of this village in Zion revealed many surprises. Jesus had overseen the development of each village in the city and had included architectural ideas from human civilisations across history. The structures were mainly grouped together with others from their original context. Everywhere natural life complimented the buildings, sometimes intertwining to make unique new dwellings. More like a country than a city, Zion sprawled across New Earth in such a way that no one could quite grasp just how vast it was.
Angels were everywhere. They were wonderful fun, always finding ways to make everyone laugh. Far from the popular myths that pervaded the Previous Age, angels were not constantly dressed in white with huge, feathered wings protruding from their backs. Most were dressed in practical clothes but identified with a sash across their chests.
People in Zion had often suffered terribly in the Previous Age and had followed the leading of Ruach through trial and fire. Some were faithful followers of Jesus’ teaching as it echoed through the centuries. Others had not heard of Jesus but had answered the call of Agape Love with all their heart.
Each village in Zion had centres of learning, with large and spacious classrooms for the saints to learn about other cultures, languages and customs. This greatly helped them serve the many different communities on the New Earth beyond Zion’s walls.
Music echoed down many of the main streets, and from open doors, parks and gardens. Genres from Dixieland Jazz to chamber string quartets, Hip-Hop beats and Gregorian chanting – there was a place for every kind of music to be performed. People played instruments for pleasure in their dwellings, and others could be seen dancing and moving to the music they made.
The aroma of fresh food could be enjoyed on the breezes that blew down the streets of the great urban areas. Every cuisine the world had ever known was being prepared each day, only with succulent plant-based replacements where there once was meat in the Previous Age. Animals were no longer killed for food, and food was no longer eaten for survival. Eating was for pleasure and keeping the body free from the irritation of hunger.
Bull had visited a grand hotel once as a young boy with his grandparents. During their brief stay, he had marvelled at the sheer choice of things to eat and things to do there. He felt this village was like a similar experience but greatly magnified.
“The experiences in Zion are just wonderful!” exclaimed Bull
Bull and Harmony were walking back to their dwellings in the stream of people leaving the stadium after the game had finished.
“It’s true,” agreed Harmony, “Almost overwhelming.”
“Shall we have some of these?”
Bull stopped near a street stall where steaming hot food was being prepared.
“Jerk wrap? Burritos?” asked the man behind the stall.
“Oh, I love Jerk spice. Want one, Harmony?” said Bull, salivating at the mere thought of the taste.
“Yeah, I’ll try one.”
“How much?” asked Bull.
“One Talent each,” said the man in a jovial way. “Best Jerk in Zion!”
Quickly 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?” said Bull.
“No! There’s a brother the other side of the river who has a Jerk stall. His is amazing, but I think my recipe is spicier,” the man said proudly, handing Bull and Harmony some napkins.
“Thank you, mate,” said Bull. “Where are you from?”
“I’m from Trinidad, 21st Century. I got to Zion at the start of this jubilee.”
“That’s good to hear,” said Harmony.
“Yeah, Jesus said I was ready. I am 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. We were all from the West Indies.”
“And you got here after one Jubilee?”
“Yes. As soon as I was raised, I knew Ruach was asking me to serve all the other guys in the community with food. I found how to cook the new forms of food here and opened a kitchen room where we could cook, and I made sure everyone was well trained.”
“That’s beautiful,” said Harmony, relishing each bite of the wrap.
“I knew Ruach when I was on the streets in the Previous Age. I knew her as a burning light in my chest that I felt but couldn’t see. Sometimes it felt like a strong emotion, other times like an idea in my mind that seemed to somehow sparkle. I knew she kept me from doing harm to others, even though it could’ve benefitted me.”
“So, you could feel her guidance?” asked Bull.
“Yeah man. Everyday. I learned this from my mother 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 our communities today.”
Harmony and Bull parted ways with Eddie and greatly enjoyed his food as they walked back to their dwellings.
“So good to be reminded that there are those who are ready to enter Zion, even after just one jubilee,” mused Bull. “Are we meeting Yvonne now?”
“Oh, that’s right. There’s a composer giving a recital of new work that Yvonne wanted to hear.”
The two friends walked through the city, every couple of minutes there were sights to stop and take in. Dancing water features, huge rockeries full of flowers in bloom, various ornate trees, some more wild than others. Every turn could produce a stunning view. The atmosphere was often peaceful in one area, full of mirth and merriment in another, and yet always friendly and welcoming.
The recital ended in a thrilling crescendo of sound. The audience sat for a moment, enraptured by the performance, and then stood to their feet and applauded for many minutes.
“I’ve never heard anything like that before,” grinned Bull.
Yvonne beamed back at him. “It was worth the wait, though, hey?”
Bull nodded and looked back to the stage where Ludwig van Beethoven was waving his hand across his orchestra, showing them off with pride to the auditorium.
“One day I’ll take you to hear some Rock and Roll,” said Harmony. “You’d love Elvis!”
“Oh, I do love Elvis!” shouted Bull over the thundering applause. “My Dad would play Elvis in the car when I was a boy.”
They walked back to their rooms discussing the genres of music they each preferred, knowing that all too soon their break in Zion would be over.