(a dream)

They came to destroy everything—not in malice or revenge, and not to rob or dominate. They were sent, like a demolition team, to remove a dangerous, life-threatening situation so that life might continue elsewhere. I could see them first in my mind’s eye: taller than us, powerful and intelligent, somehow glowing from a light within, and full of purpose that would not be denied.

The first task these unearthly warriors must complete was to find and acquire the keys of a kingdom now in jeopardy. I didn’t know how many keys there were, or who the other keepers might have been. I only knew that we—my husband and I—had one of the keys in our own possession.

When I first saw them coming to take our key, I was afraid. We had hoped for a solution rather than complete destruction. I loved this world. I looked forward to every day of teaching the children, harvesting the garden, and tending the animals.

It was true, we had asked for justice and judgement to arrive in full measure. But what about us? We’d been waiting and diligently caring for this tiny piece of the Earth we called ‘home.’ If we gave up our key, our lives would be forfeit as well.

So, we took the key and ran.

From our hiding place, I saw one of the tall, bright aliens walk into the sunlight. Terror made my heart pound. His eyes closed and he turned his head, right, and then left, as if listening. He did not hear us, or see us hiding in the shadow.

As I watched him listening, I lost my fear. I had listened the same way, many times. I knew he was hearing the voice of our Creator.

My husband’s fist relaxed around the key and we looked at one another.

“It’s okay,” he whispered to me. “It’s going to be okay.” He took my hand in his, and we left our hiding place.

As we walked out into the sunlight, the alien warrior turned and saw us.

He was so bright, it was difficult to look directly at him. We regarded each other warily for a moment. Then, my husband offered him our key. The alien looked astonished.

“You offer it to me, knowing what I have come to do?” he asked.

“You’re here because of the mess.” My husband replied. The alien nodded gravely and explained,

“Humanity is the only species among all created beings to have defiled themselves completely. No other creature has willfully set about the work of destroying their own offspring and habitat. This cannot continue.”

“I understand,” my husband agreed. “But there are a few of us who have not done these things. There are a few who have cared for what they have been given. Do you have to destroy us too?”

The alien was silent, regarding the key in my husband’s hand with a speculative glance. He did not seem surprised at our request, nor inclined to take the key until the matter was agreed upon.

“More than just Earth is in danger now,” he said, presenting further argument. “We cannot let the vileness spread.”

“No,” my husband agreed. “And I will fight with you, if it comes to that. But I’m asking you to save the few who have kept themselves clean. He said, the meek will inherit the Earth. So, let them inherit. Let us—inherit.”

The alien did not hesitate any longer. Others of his kind stepped into the clearing around us and I shuddered with involuntary fear. They were armed and ready for war.

“So be it.” The alien warrior agreed. “But, be warned: to do as you have asked, we must shake the Earth with a violence that has never yet been known. Like the pure grains of wheat are sifted, we will sift the Earth. The shaking will reveal the chaff, the wind of trouble will separate them from you, and the fire of purification will consume them all.”

A moment passed in silence. My husband offered our key once again. The alien glanced at it briefly, and then back up at the two of us standing there, waiting for whatever might come.

“Keep it,” he said. “You are the seeds of Zion, and the Kingdom is coming.”