When people rise from death, there will be no…. Mark 12:25-27
I awoke to consciousness on a flat, monochrome, earth. Light and the shadow partitioned the landscape with predictable regularity. I was a part of an army of light, stretched out across the rim of the world. And on the other side of the earth an army of darkness stretched out like a smoky mirror of wraiths waiting to do battle.
The person to my right was just like me, and, intuitively, I knew we were Pawns. Compared to my rounded self, the person behind me was hard and flintlike. Castle.
We talked about who we were, where we were, why we were there. There didn’t seem to be any meaning in the world, except, perhaps, that we had to defend the King from the darkness, and watch each other’s back.
Movement. A pawn moved towards the darkness, and the shadow of a dark soldier moved from the shadow lands towards us.
It seemed strange that Castle should be stationed at the corner of the world instead of at the centre, and I wondered if each corner of the world was similarly stationed. Behind me a Knight reared in anticipation, and a Bishop muttered prayers.
Slowly battle commenced. I saw the first soldier, similarly one of life’s pawns, struck in a lightning flash by a Bishop. A giant hand reached into the world and removed his body. I wondered if there was an afterlife.
The Knight rode forth, leaping over light and dark warriors alike to find prey. The Queen rarely moved, but, when she did, she was swift and merciless. She seemed to be able to go where she pleased. Perhaps her tall, slender, and terrible beauty was the source of some deep power.
Castle didn’t move. I had moved forward a little, along the edge of the world, trying to lie low, remain unseen. Then suddenly the air crackled with magic, and King was just behind me on my right, standing where Knight had stood. Castle had taken the King’s place beside the Queen. Against his frame I could see how tall she really was. Castle seemed dark now, less a fortress and more a tank, ready to reach out across the world and smite our foes, the right hand of our Lady.
But then tragedy struck. A Bishop, with some magical fire, flew across the world to the heart of Castle. Castle toppled, struck by this unholy church. A hand reached out, and Castle was lifted aloft. The Queen, furious, lashed out and smote the bishop with deadly force.
I noticed a different hand came for the army dark than came for the army of light. Perhaps one army was bound for light and the other for darkness? Perhaps we were the playthings of Gods who ate the lives they took. I didn’t know. No one wanted to talk about it, but I noticed that Pawns like myself were falling quickly. Perhaps inevitability and fear was the same for us all. What’s the point of talking when all that matters is the war?
I moved quietly, stealthily, upon the edge of the world. Unnoticed, I moved into enemy territory. I wondered what was at the far edge of the world, and an unseen bidding drew me towards it.
The war raged all around me. The landscape was less populated now, and many soldiers, of either side, had been killed and lifted aloft.
I reached towards the edge of the dark side of the world, and, suddenly, magic happened all around me, and I was transformed. Transformation. I had become Queen! Not a Queen of darkness, but a Queen of light. Equally as feared. A swift killer. I felt my new found power, and revelled in it. Perhaps I had pleased the God in some way, and been rewarded? No more sneaking now. I was glorious!
I swept from one corner of the world to another. I defeated a dark Pawn who was reaching into the world of light. Then I swept back to take a Knight. I saw his fear as I came from the side, his steed reaching into the air. Both gone in a moment. Fallen and taken.
Then, just as I was revelling in my new found power, I realised that I had made an error. The Knight I’d taken had been defended by a Queen. She leapt upon me, dark and terrible, and threw me down.
I lay there looking up to the heavens from where a hand reached down, and l was lifted up.
The world was below me far away, and I realised it was a part of a much bigger and even stranger universe. I had no idea.
I was placed in an open coffin, lined with felt. Beside me were the Pawns with whom I had begun my journey, and behind me, gently sleeping, was Castle.
And as curious as could be, in that gentle mausoleum, the full country of dark warriors lay with us, sleeping too. The same as us. All was gentle, all was peace. All was one. Curious.
Perhaps in the end it had all just been a game. I couldn’t make rhyme nor reason of any of it really. There had been light, and dark, and sweetness, and battle, and camaraderie, and fear. It had been an extraordinary adventure and I was now sleepy. Perhaps some day a great hand would reach down to us and there would be a resurrection, so it could all start all over again. Perhaps I would dream.
And as I drifted off to sleep, one last thought suddenly came to me.
I didn’t know who’d won.
When people rise from death, there will be no marriage. People will not be married to each other. All people will be like angels in heaven. Surely you have read what God said about people rising from death. In the book where Moses wrote about the burning bush, it says that God told Moses this: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So they were not still dead, because The Lord is the God only of living people. Mark 12: 25-27