Chapter 29 Adilah enters Zion

Two people sat near a small fire in the middle of a circle of cabins. Their fourth jubilee was nearing its end and they had enjoyed several decades of living in peaceful friendship with one another. Differences and disagreements had been overcome quickly, as each person was prepared to accept loving correction through patient discussion. The community had learned to listen to each other, seeking to understand and honour each person.

“He was my brother, in the same way that every man was somebody’s brother, son and father.”

Adilah nodded slowly. She knew what this meant. The logic was clear, but she knew that allowing it to enter her heart could mean only one thing: forgiveness.

The man sitting opposite her wiped tears from his cheeks. “It still hurts to think of him, because I haven’t yet seen him again here on the New Earth.”

“When was the last time you saw him?” asked Adilah. Somehow this conversation felt acutely intimate and important. Over the last few decades, she had grown to understand that the men in her community did not pose a threat to her safety. Though tentative at first, she made the effort to spend time with them. She had listened and opened her heart to them and the men had reciprocated.

“He climbed on to the back of a jeep and they drove away. What hurt the most was that he looked at me with defiance, as if to say he had done nothing wrong. Maybe it was because he’d spared my life, but I wished he hadn’t. He killed my wife and my two children – his own nephew and niece – just because they belonged to the wrong tribe.”

“Even we heard about the Rwandan genocide,” said Adilah. “The militia talked about it sometimes.”

The two sat in silence for a long time.

“Do you want to see him again?” Adilah asked.

“Sometimes I do,” said the man. “But sometimes I do not. I know my heart is set and that I have chosen to forgive. I see what Jesus is doing here, and I understand that the only way for all things to be reconciled is to set my heart on agape love.”

The fire continued to crackle, as owls called to each other in the distant treetops.

“Do you think about where he might be?”

“I assume that he will be raised and will have to face up to what he did. I know that Jesus will have designed a process that will help him and ultimately save him. I am sure that he will experience both the chastisement and the loving kindness of Papa God. The two are really the same, but it takes time to see it, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” Adilah nodded in agreement. “Throughout these jubilee periods, I have been challenged to think of myself as more than just a victim. My body no longer bears the scars of the Previous Age, but it took me a long time to understand how those experiences had scarred my identity.”

Adilah became quiet as she stared into the fire. She reached up a hand and ran it over her hair, where once she had been burned.

“And I know what I must do to finally defeat my victim mindset.”

The man searched Adilah’s face, willing her to take the next vital step.

“So right now, I choose to forgive.”

Adilah’s head dropped to her chest and she closed her eyes tight.

“I forgive all those who hurt me and my sister,” she sobbed. “I recognise they were people just like me.”

The man bowed his head, recognising the power of this moment, as Adilah allowed her tears to flow. She called to mind the faces of her captors, one by one, and visualised herself telling them that they were forgiven. As she did so, she felt an energy welling up within her, like a volcano on the point of erupting.

“Thank you, friend,” she cried through her tears. Ruach had been with her from childhood and throughout everything she had experienced – her death, her resurrection and this process – leading her all the way to this moment.


“Weeks and months went by from that evening around the fire,” said Harmony.  “Adilah sometimes felt flashes of her previous anger and resentment towards those who had caused so much suffering in the Previous Age, but she consistently focused her mind on her decision to forgive. Sometimes she felt disappointed, because it didn’t feel easy, but at other times she experienced a deep joy and freedom like never before.”

“Ruach saw her determination to keep actively choosing forgiveness, and that’s how we knew that this day had come,” said Jesus with delight. “Come on, let’s go to her!”


Adilah was singing to herself as she sat on her small veranda polishing a saucepan. The sound of birdsong in the evening never failed to elevate her spirits, and she loved to sit outside as the colours changed around her. Hearing footsteps on the path, she looked up and gasped as she recognised Jesus walking toward her with Anne and Harmony.

Jesus held out his arms and Adilah ran towards him. He wrapped her in a long embrace with her head nestled under his chin. Anne and Harmony both beamed with anticipation.

“Adilah,” said Jesus, holding her gently by the shoulders and looking deep into her eyes. “Ruach, Harmony and Anne have seen your heart. You have chosen to clothe yourself in agape love and have decided to love those who hurt you. You have come to see yourself as you truly are – a cherished daughter of Papa God. You are ready to enter Zion.”

Adilah covered her face with her hands for a few seconds and then opened them to reveal her radiant smile. She heard Jesus’ words but was unsure what they fully meant.

“Come with us,” beckoned Jesus. “You remember Cynthia?”

The seraph turned and bowed low. The four friends climbed onto her broad back and were soon soaring over the meadows of Beulah toward the shining city of Zion.

They landed in a square where tables and chairs were set out, like an Italian piazza. Sliding to the ground, Adilah looked around, overwhelmed by the many things she’d never seen before. The piazza lay at the foot of mountainous crags, the tops of which were hidden in rosy-hued clouds. Dwellings of various colours were built into the rock faces with flowers blooming on the balconies and on the thick outcrops between the buildings. Adilah turned around slowly, trying to take it all in.

Jesus, Harmony and Anne stood back, enjoying the look of wonder on Adilah’s face. Jesus reached out and took her hand. She looked up at him and silently mouthed the word “Thank you.” 

Jesus motioned for her to turn around. Standing a few feet away were a man and a woman, arm in arm.

Adilah’s hands returned to her face for a few seconds before she lowered them, looked again, and then ran towards the couple crying “Mama, Papa!”

Adilah’s parents held her tight, and they wept together in a moment that seemed to be suspended in time. Adilah knew that she was finally home and that all her suffering, her resilience and her patience had been leading to this.

Soon they were sitting in the comfortable living room of one of Jesus’ homes. The breeze gently moved the curtains as the reunited family told each other of their journeys through the Previous Age and the New Earth. As they laughed and cried together, Jesus took great pleasure in serving them food and drinks.

“What of Eshe?” Adilah looked up and asked Jesus.

“Everyone has their own day for entering Zion,” he replied, “much as when you were raised to the New Earth. Today is about you. You can trust me with your sister, and all the others that you love.”

“And not just those I love,” replied Adilah, with a directness and confidence that made Jesus put down the tray of drinks.

“No,” he said gently. “Not just those you love.”

“When?” asked Adilah.

Jesus sat down with the family and turned to Adilah.

“You must remember that you have the strength to meet anyone here in Zion. And by the same token, anyone here in Zion is ready to meet you. Will it be easy? Not necessarily. Will it be awkward? Yes, possibly. But you have clothed yourself in agape love, and you can be confident that you will know how to interact with anyone you meet here. Some people deliberately ask for a reconciliation meeting. If that is what you wish, we will arrange it. Others prefer to leave it to happenstance, trusting that the timing and the circumstances will flow naturally, which of course they will. Your spirit is one with Ruach, your friend. You are mature in our everlasting love.”

“What would you like to do, my daughter?” asked Adilah’s mother.

“I think… I would like this to happen… as and when,” said Adilah. “Jesus, I trust you and I trust myself.”

“Right, that is how it will be. And now,” said Jesus breaking out into a broad smile, “you are free to explore and experience the wonders of Zion in your own time. Your time for rest has come.”


“Can we join in?”

Adilah turned around and lowered her bat. “For sure,” she smiled. “You two, do you want to join the fielding team, and…”

She stopped. Her hand fell to her side as she looked hard at one of the two men who had approached them on the baseball pitch.

He looked back with the same sense of recognition on his face. Sensing what was happening, the others made space for them and moved quietly aside.

“Adilah?” asked the man.

“Yes,” she replied. She felt her stomach tense with nerves but at the same time a calm clarity of mind.

“Come,” said Adilah, “Let’s walk together.”

The man nodded and the pair walked off the field in silence, watched by those remaining, who sent love and support in their hearts to both individuals. They understood that these moments could arise in Zion, often with no introduction.

“I know a place nearby where we can talk,” said the man.

“Okay. What is your name?” she asked.

“My name is Bem, but you knew me as ‘Knife’.” His voice wavered and he cleared his throat.

They sat on a bench overlooking a neighbourhood in a suburban district of Zion.

“Adilah, I know you have come here because you are ready in your heart, but I still need to say this to you.”

Bem knelt before Adilah and looked up at her.

“I am sorry for what I did to you and so many others in the Previous Age. I acknowledge the pain and suffering you endured. I know what I did, and I understand why I did those things.”

Adilah looked down at him and her forehead furrowed slightly. She could still remember the screams as he sliced the flesh of her sister to mark her as the property of the militia. But she could also see the humanity that she shared with him in his eyes. “Bem,” she said, “sit with me and tell me about your life in the Previous Age.” She leaned down and took his face in her hands. “Tell me about your journey on the New Earth and how you came to Zion. I want to know, I want to understand everything.”

Adilah and Bem sat together on the bench for a long time, and then they moved on to a quiet restaurant. They talked with no concept of time. As they explained their stories, their hearts made room to accommodate each other.

Listening became learning; learning became understanding; understanding became empathy, and empathy became total acceptance that they were brother and sister within God’s family.