Redeeming Animism, Part 7: The Last Level (FINALE)


Concluding Redeeming Animism, Part 6: My De-Liver-Er and all three volumes of The Great Redemption


I am all alone.
Or am I?

I am naked.
Or am I?

I am healed.
Or am I?


I open my eyes.
I am lying on the ground
In a fertile river valley
On a small patch of dust

This place
Is beautiful
Like a garden
But completely natural
As if the plants themselves
Willed it into being
To showcase their glory

I look around
But do not see
The eagle who brought me
Through a hole in reality

I do not see
My animal companions
The mouse, dog, and snake
Who guided and goaded me
On my quest

I glance down at my side
Where my liver was sacrificed
To power the eagle

The wound in my side
Is still open
But no longer bleeds
The scar
Already healed
The pain
Already faded

I carefully stand up
I don’t even feel sore
But then I notice
I am not wearing clothes

And yet
I don’t feel naked
It is as if
Like the flowers
I have willed my own glory
To cover my shame

I look up
And see two figures
Walking towards me

They too
Are naked-not
These two
Are known to me

Adam & Eve

Me: Adam!

Adam: My son! Welcome home.

Eve: Welcome back, my beloved child!

I glance around
I am sure
I have never been here
But her words ring true

This feels familiar
As if my whole life
Began here
And was spent
Trying to return

Then I look at them
And I realIze
That the love between them
Is a tangible thing

Perhaps the most real thing
In this
Or any universe.

And their love… is where I belong.


Adam grins, and claps me on the shoulder.

A. You did it, my son!

I am confused.

M. But… I did nothing. You were the one who sacrificed yourself in the Box of Hades. For… her.

I am afraid to look at Eve, remembering how Wisdom had stood against Freedom and Love to keep her from him.

To my surprise, she laughs.

E. Yes, yes he did. But he would not have come back to me unless you had first sought him out, to remind him of who — and whose — he was.

She blushes, and takes him by the hand.

E. As he reminded me who and whose I am.

A. And as you yourself have continued to do, facing down your pride and shame to redeem and rename the spirits who have gone before.

M. But… I thought I came here to find an army. To retake the world from Satan.

E. And so you have!

She turns, and gestures behind her.

The Multitude. Reborn.

A blinding light flashes over me.
I fall to my knees, overcome.

The angry multitude that had surrounded her.
The broken, despised and abused children of Adam that had comforted Eve in her despair.
And kept them apart.

They… are glorious.

Not merely happy, like innocent children who have never known pain or betrayal.
But over-flowingly joyous, like mighty warriors who have defeated an unconquerable foe after endless battles.
True Valkyries, who bear their scars proudly as evidence of how deeply they have been redeemed.

For whom death holds no more terrors.
As it has already done it’s worst.
And been defeated.

My eyes fill with tears.
I am in awe.
I feel so unworthy.
I could never have endured what they went through.
Who am I to lead them?

J. Really?


I turn and see Him.

M. Um, did I say that aloud?

J. Does it matter?
If anything, I’d be shocked if you did not question your worthiness after your pride was so thoroughly crushed.

M. But they… me…. we… how?

J. The same as always, Ernie.
One step at a time.

M. But… will they follow? Why would they?

J. As you say, they have all been broken through suffering beyond your ability to understand.
Even as they have become mighty warriors by the grace that has redeemed them.
Their scars are their strength, yet their strength is also their weakness.

M. Huh?

J. They are too close to the battle, and the enemy, to see the big picture.
Your weakness and strengths are the inverse of theirs.
That is why I have chosen you to lead them.
That is why they have been waiting here for you.
Because you have the missing piece.

I stare at Jesus, confused. What does He mean?

I think back on all the treasures I have gained and lost along the way.
A mouse.
My pride.
Hestia’s food.
The keys of Hades.
A sword…

THAT Sword?

As I think the thought, the Sword of Love suddenly appears in my hand.

J. Yes, Ernie.
The sword of double-edged empathy.
The world considers it cursed.
Because any pain it inflicts on others
The wielder feels tenfold.

He smiles. In the distance, I hear devils shriek and tremble.

J. But for my army…

He turns and gestures to the multitude.
They erupt with hoots and hollers of rejoicing.
Drinking in His approval
And roaring it back at Him.

J. They consider it the greatest weapon ever forged.
And the only one they would ever trust.
Wielded by the only one they dare follow.

M. I… I don’t understand.

J. My army is powerful beyond anything the enemy can imagine.
But their power comes from their very brokenness.
Their scars are glorious, but they are still scars.
Any attempt to coerce them with Law, Power, or Cruelty will unleash the wrath of God.
Yet they still must be disciplined if they are to function as my soldiers.

He turns to me.
Suddenly sober.
I sense a deep weariness coming over Him.
To my horror and amazement
He begins to sweat great drops of blood.

I stare at His brow.
And only now notice the crown of thorns.
Pressing its wicked spikes into His flesh.

Oh no.

J. Yes, Ernie.
Now is the time.
My army is ready.
But they are waiting.
Waiting for someone they can trust.
Who is willing to wield the sword
That cuts both ways
And wear the crown
Whose points slice inward

J. Who will not use them
To avoid his pain
But will take their pain
So they can be of use

I tremble.
This is why I came.
This is the Quest I’ve been on.
That God has been preparing me for my whole life.
It is too much.

Me: Father… is there no other way?
This cup… it is too much.

I feel a presence overshadow Jesus.
A tri-toned voice.

“Too much pain… or too much glory?”

M. Um… both?

The Breakup

I hear a low rumble.
Almost subsonic.
The ground trembles.
And begins to crack.

The sound grows
Like distant thunder.

The people start chattering to each other.
And rushing back and forth.

Not scared.
As if they have been waiting their whole lives.
For all eternity
For this very moment.

The noise is like enormous drums.
Sonic booms.

The earth splits apart.
The crowd cheers.
They form into squads.

They are laughing.
Each group jumps together onto an appropriately-sized rock.
And flies down.
As our world slowly falls apart.

And only then
Do I realize
Why they are so happy.

Because the rumble
The sound
The noise
Is God laughing.

At me.
With me.
For me.

And suddenly
I smile.

The smile only deepens
As I kneel at the feet of Jesus
And feel the thorny crown
Pierce my scalp.

It turns into a goofy grin.
As I lift up my sword
And it bursts into holy flame.

I feel the burn.
The pain is real.
But it doesn’t weaken me.
It purifies.

I let loose a mighty shout.
The swooping armies of God echo it back.
The heavens ring like a bell.

I plunge my sword into the last piece of ground at my feet.
It shatters into dust.
I fall
The broken army of God follows in my wake.

We break into song:

“Now the Kingdoms of this World
Have become
The Kingdoms of our Lord
And of His Christ”

And we shall reign with Him
For ever and ever.

Come, Lord Jesus.


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