A Dream of the Great Assize

For fifteen years Kayla was an important part of the life of our family. She was a Husky/​Ger­­man Shepherd mix, had a sweet disposition, loved and protected the kids, and adored my wife and me. She also had a sonorous, deep-throated howl. When Kayla sang, one heard echoes of ancient wolves joyously running through the mountains. I loved her dearly and was frequently accused, not least by our kids, of spoiling her to excess. Nolo contendere. After a full life, she fell asleep in 2011.

My dream of the Last Judgment:

The incarnate Lord returns in glory and gathers the quick and the dead around his Throne. His voice thunders out:

“Can anyone provide one good reason why I should permit this man, Alvin, son of Alvin, to enter into my Kingdom?”


“Is there no one who will speak on his behalf?”


I look over at my wife and children. They hang their heads.

“Has he done no good works?”


“He was a priest of Holy Church for several decades. Did he not preach at least one good sermon?”


“What of you, his devoted blog followers? Surely Alvin must have written some insightful articles?”

The terrible silence deepens. 

My heart sinks. I try to remember my once well-articulated theology of unconditional grace, but all it has become hazy … blurred … abstruse. No words will come. My mouth goes dry. Taste of chalk.

Terror grips my soul.

“No one?”


The King appears to be prepared to render his verdict … but then a glorious sound erupts from the multitude.

Aroooo! Aroooo! Aroo-aroo-arooooo!

And Christ smiles.

I miss the howls of my Kayla. I pray to hear them again at the great assize.

(15 May 2017; rev.)

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1 Response to A Dream of the Great Assize

  1. I pray that you will hear that delighted bark. As soon. As it comes time to close your eyes here, walk through the curtain that is death. Just as you do, you will be aware you are falling over, being licked, by a howling, wolf licking, delighted Kayla. She has bounced you over, so delighted to see you. Because that is what CHRIST died for. So we could receive life. And that is what Kayla gave you. Everyday. Love. Life. Perfect obedience! It seems to me, animals qualify for their selflessness alone! Their love and loyalty. And because Gods heart is so big, nothing loved or lovable is ever excluded.


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