Emerging from the Rubble 

Chapter 5

Just as the sun was beginning to lighten the sky, and a few sleepy birds were beginning to greet the day, Thomas was pulled from his bed. With a rough hand over his mouth, he was dragged out of the room and along the corridor.


“Owl wants to see you,” said one of the men.


Thomas nodded calmly and the men cautiously loosened their grip on him and began escorting him down the stairs.


Owl stood looking out of the window, the sunrise breaking before him beyond the distant hills.


“These seeds,” he said. “What are they?”


“There are all kinds,” answered Thomas. “Grain, corn, fruit trees and vegetables. My old friend is a gardener. He entrusted the seeds to us.”


“I see,” said Owl. “And now I have them. Do you trust me with them?”


“Owl, we need to talk about yesterday.”


Owl suddenly became uncomfortable.


“That’s all I needed to know. If they are food seeds, we will plant them and farm them. You can go now.”


With a flick of his fingers, his two men opened the door to the courtyard and Thomas found himself alone with a blue sky above him. He looked at the way the sunlight was playing on the clouds and his heart swelled.


“My Father,” he whispered. And that was all he needed to say. As if waking from a dream, Thomas found himself standing on a balcony overlooking Jerusalem. Next to him stood Jesus.


“You’re doing so well,” said Jesus with a warm smile. He laid his hand on Thomas’s shoulder. Thomas looked at the hand and could plainly see the pink scar on Jesus’ wrist. For a brief moment Thomas remembered how he had doubted that Jesus was indeed back from the grave, and how he had reached out to touch the scars for himself.


“Lord, the people are so broken. There is so much loss, so much sadness. There is abuse and there is violence.”


“They are still driven by their old desires. You must understand that it takes many years for some people to see the way of love. We are in this for the long haul.” Jesus sounded both reassuring and resolute. “Papa and I know that, in time, everyone will come to see that unfailing love holds all things together. Love gives creation its meaning. You and the others have been perfected by love. You now embody it wherever you go and whoever you are with. Think of the individuals you are reaching. They understand a little more each day. Have faith, my friend. Every human life is an expression of our divine love. It’s just that some have not discovered this yet.”


“Will it be the same on the new earth?” asked Thomas.


“To begin with the new earth will be similar in many ways to your current environment. Once the new earth is formed, I will start resurrecting people that died on the old earth. I will assess each person, for example how well they gave drinks to the poor, visited people in prison and so on and decide which group they should be assigned to. No group will be larger than five hundred people, and many will be only one to two hundred in size. Helpers such as yourself will be assigned to each group and will have the same role you currently have, to encourage everyone in their community to operate from a position of love rather than selfishness.


“Some groups will have particularly difficult characters and it will take us a very long time to convince them that they are loved, and that it is safe for them to consider others as friends, not just an entity to be exploited.


“Other groups will be full of kind people. Many in these groups will quickly accept that Papa is a good father and that they can trust him. I will call some of the people in these groups to become helpers, and then they will be trained by being assigned to groups with established helpers. As the number of helpers grows, I will be able to resurrect more people and create further groups.


“Eventually everyone who has ever existed will be resurrected and live in a group on the new earth. After perhaps a long time everyone in every group will accept that Papa is their good and loving Father, and that he cares for them and will ensure that they are always safe and can be at peace.”


“You describe a wonderful future. I wish it could happen more quickly! I wish I could stay with you!” cried Thomas, wrapping his arms around Jesus. Jesus held him tight and rubbed his back, comfortingly.


“I know,” he said. “You will see me again soon. For now, you have more hearts to illuminate with love. Be patient with Owl. He is just as loved as you are!”


Thomas nodded. Suddenly he was back in the courtyard, staring at the sky. A few men and women were beginning to prepare the food for breakfast.


Thomas smiled to himself while he looked around, basking in the glow of having been with Jesus.




Seeds were planted. Crops and trees began to grow. Slowly, and with regular signs that progress was being made, the culture in the community began to change. Since Harmony and Anne had intervened, fewer men were taking advantage of the rota. Some couples began to form, and this brought joy to everyone. Harmony and Anne loved to spend time with the womenfolk, joining in with their various tasks.


The coming months saw faces begin to lighten, and people becoming happier. The friends began to find the sense of humour within the people. They worked out who liked practical jokes, who laughed at puns, and who giggled at slapstick. The friends delighted in this, and the sound of laughter began to echo across the courtyard and along the corridors of the block.


“Joy makes everything seem easier,” remarked Sylvia one day. She and Anne were watching a group of men and women having a water fight whilst watering the crops. She knew that such light-hearted things would not have occurred if Thomas, Yan, Harmony and Anne had not joined the community.


“Yes, there is fun to be had in the work,” said Anne.


As the harvests came in, the community became wise in how to live seasonally. People with no previous experience of working the land soon became well versed in the practices that gave them food. Rainwater was collected and either channelled to the crops or stored to be boiled before being drunk or used in cooking.


Although the community was much happier, nevertheless disagreements occasionally happened. One day Alice and Mary were working in a remote field. When there was no one else around Alice said, “Mary, what were you talking to my Fox about?”


Mary responded, “We were discussing what would be needed for the next feast. Fox was suggesting I could sing a song.”


Alice became agitated, “I think the two of you were suggesting much more than a song!”


Mary became defensive. “Honestly, that is all we talked about.”


Alice grabbed Mary’s dress and said, “Sing me a song now then. Demonstrate a reason why he might ask you.”


Mary quivered, “You are scaring me Alice. I am not sure I can sing. I am too frightened.”


Harmony said, “What’s happening between you two?”


“Where did you come from?” said Alice. “I was sure no one was in sight and you could not have heard us.”


“A still small voice told me you were arguing, and it brought me here,” said Harmony. “What were you talking about?”


Mary said, “Alice does not believe I was only talking to Fox about singing in the festival.”


Harmony said, “I know that Mary has a good voice, and I overheard the men discussing who they might like to sing next week. Alice I am sure you are mistaken if you think anything more was happening.”


“I am sorry,” said Alice. “I’m just a bit touchy at present. I’m not sleeping well”.


“No problem,” said Mary, “shall we continue?”


The two women went back to weeding the rows of carrots.


When Harmony had gone, Alice said, “How come Harmony or one of those four, always turns up just as any disagreement is happening? They seem to have a sixth sense about a voice being raised in anger.”


“I know,” said Mary, “but they do genuinely always seem to want to be peacemakers and they have never tried to personally benefit from the special knowledge they seem to have.”


They finished their weeding and calmly walked back to the homestead.




Three days later the monthly thanksgiving festival was in full swing. Harmony commented to Anne that Mary had a lovely voice. Yan however, seemed concerned.


“What is it?” asked Anne.


“I have not seen the one they call Rook tonight. I have a feeling that he is avoiding the festival,” said Yan. “There can’t be a physical reason as Jesus is making sure that everyone keeps well. I think I’d better try to find out why he doesn’t want to join us at the festival.”


Yan walked to Rook’s room and knocked. “Rook? Are you ok?”


After a pause Rook responded, “I did not feel like joining the party this evening. Thanks for asking.”


“Happy to come in and talk if you would like,” said Yan.


There was another pause and then the door opened. Rook was pleased to have company. He felt out of place at the festival because he considered that he had nothing to offer and did not have a companion to go with. Yan assured him that he was an important part of the community, and that people would like to see him at the festival. Rook thanked Yan for coming to talk, but he insisted that he would rather not go that night.


“No problem,” said Yan. Then he walked back to the festival alone.




A few days later a young man called to his friend, “Look at this ash branch! I’m going to make a rounders bat from it.”


After days of whittling, sanding, and varnishing, a finished rounders bat was used in a community rounders game one warm evening. Much to Owl’s irritation, some of the scavenging expeditions brought back all sorts of balls. One week Polecat brought back a basketball and a basketball hoop. A few weeks later, a leather football was added to the growing collection. Soon there was a room dedicated to storing sports equipment and the community even formed various teams and started league tables.


Others found their voices and started a singing group, remembering as many words as they could from old songs and writing them down. One woman had a guitar presented to her by her boyfriend after a scavenging expedition, and much to her surprise, the muscle memory in her fingers could still play the chords.


Time took on a new quality. People were no longer thinking about what day it was, or what month. They lived in harmony with the seasons and the weather. Without the need to constantly do things at a set time or be forever rushing to the next task, the community relaxed more and more into a holistic and connected way of living.


All was not complete harmony though. One person in the group was slowly becoming rich from storing potatoes. That person, who everyone called Magpie, had claimed a cellar, and had offered to store all the potatoes in the cellar. He knew the best way to store potatoes so that they would last for up to nine months.


Over time he persuaded the group that they should ‘pay’ for the potatoes that they collected from him during the winter. It was a system of barter rather than money, but it allowed Magpie to become wealthy, and he became progressively unwilling to take his turn at working in the fields, because he was able to ‘pay’ others to do the work for him.


“Jesus, I am concerned that some in the group are becoming rich at the expense of others who are now struggling,” said Yan to Jesus on one of his return trips to Jerusalem.


Jesus replied, “Yes this has always been a problem, and will continue to be a problem for a long time even on the new earth. It will only go away when everyone has learnt to completely trust that Papa will provide all they need. Once they do, they will be willing to let go of the desire to store up wealth, by exploiting others. They will also be able to treat everyone as an equal, rather than considering how others can make them rich so that they can feel more secure.”


Yan asked, “How will you achieve this?”


“On the new earth it will be achieved once sufficient Jubilee cycles have happened. There will be groups on the new earth that are similar, to begin with, to the group you are working with. They will exchange goods and services, and this will make some ‘wealthy’. Every so often, Papa will declare a year of Jubilee and he will move people into new groups where they will all start again, with no possessions and no ‘slaves’.


“Eventually everyone will realise that they don’t have to exploit others to ensure that they have a good standard of living. They will be able to enter a state of rest. They will stop striving and be willing to enjoy the company of others, without ever considering how others might make them wealthy.”


Yan exclaimed, “That’s amazing. I remember the concept of Jubilee that God gave to Moses, but it was never implemented as far as I know. I can see how it would work on the new earth. It will achieve a state where people can use their talents for the benefit of the community, without the desire to become rich. But, how can we stop people exploiting others in groups during this period?”


Jesus explained, “It will be achieved by causing the groups to move to a different location every so often. Sometimes a stronger group will force a weaker group to abandon their settlement, or sometimes the water supply will dry up, again forcing them to move on. It won’t work perfectly, but when it has happened a number of times and people begin to trust that they will always be alright, the desire to exploit others will diminish.


“All that humans have called evil will eventually be overcome by Agape love. On the new earth, people will come to realise that they don’t need to hoard possessions. Everything they need will be available to them. If they ask, they will be given.


“For example, if a musician wants a guitar, he will be given access to a person who makes guitars. When they first meet, they will agree the exact specification of the required guitar. It might take some time for the instrument to be completed, but the person will gain the guitar they desire.”


“Won’t the person have to pay for the guitar?” asked Yan.


“Not through the exchange of money,” replied Jesus. “Instead a relationship will be formed between the two. The first person may help the instrument maker cut and prepare the wood, or perhaps they might sing while the guitar takes shape. The craftsman will not lose or sacrifice anything. On the contrary, they will have the satisfaction of knowing another person and producing something that another person can enjoy.


“The ’currency’ on the new earth is relationships not possessions. Everyone will have bodies with perfect and unlimited memories. They will have the desire to fill those memories with the knowledge of others. They will also have unlimited time to spend with others, to develop those relationships and gain insight into their lives.”


“What will prevent one person exploiting another?” asked Yan.


“The desire to exploit another is a distortion of the desire to protect oneself,” said Jesus. “It will take many years with some people, but eventually everyone will come to the realisation that it is better to honour others, than to exploit them.


“It will be one of your roles in the millennium and on the new earth to identify when a person is being exploited, and to shame the abuser. If necessary this should be done in front of the whole community, until they realise that it is better to respect others than exploit your fellow man.”


Yan sat in deep thought for a few minutes contemplating the wonderful life the future held for everyone. “Thank you for helping me understand all this,” he said to Jesus, and he then returned to the community.