“For everyone will be salted with fire.” (Mark 9:49)
The sky lit up with the streaking fiery tails of
Incoming missiles announcing the day we
All knew would come but chose to ignore.
A flash of blinding white light as the
Earth belched out rings of heat that
Caused eyes to melt and towns to
We found ourselves standing in a
Crowd of people – Chinese, Russian, American –
People of all ages, shapes and sizes, all naked,
All stunned, all in a strange place where
Shadows played against walls of granite
And a soft grey mist covered the land
As far as one could see. Millions of us, waiting
The searing white light that had transported us
Here appeared dull in our memories in
Comparison to the colossal figure before us
That had only the ever-shifting form of fire.
He swung an incense burner with his left hand
It’s coals glowing red-hot, puffs of black smoke
Drifting over us. He reached into the firepot,
Grasping a handful of coals, holding them for
A moment or two as he looked out over the crowd.
Without flinching, he crumbled the coals with his
Bare hand, sowed them aloft, and blew
The airborne embers over us.
It rained a torrent of tiny specks of fire, but,
As they landed on our naked bodies, the
Resultant pain was more relief than
Torture. We understood one another’s
Languages; no one was a stranger, we
Suddenly knew and cared for each other, and,
As the embers faded, strange ethereal music
Rose to a crescendo, as the mist dissipated,
And all the world erupted in bird-song and flowers
And we danced together and laughed with
Animals that spoke and mountains that sang.