1. A missionary trembles in the pulpit, exhorting you with tales of the fire of God, of kings and coals, of a man who had seen angels and thought they omened his death. The man to the right of you is flat on his face and his weeping makes mud out of the dusty floor. The woman to the left of you is wide-eyed in shock. And you? You are frozen to your seat. When the sermon ends, the lot of you stand in the emptiness, asking each other, Where do we go from here?
2. I’ve heard the voice of God—a clear voice, a tender voice, hushed as a whisper, intense as a thunder-strike. When I heard it, I found myself shaking, but every night since I have prayed to hear it again, that I may memorize its timbre.
3. The priest swings a brassy incense burner back and forth, forth and back. The chain rattles with a rhythm and the air is bittersweet with smoke. The air echoes with the song of the priest. Such are the accidents and attributes of heaven, the visible signs of the hand of God that challenges the power of death.