Rita liked the pace of Sunday mornings: a huge change from her weekday routine, rushing to an office downtown.  Waking slowly, while watching the sun change from a slit to a ball, she glanced at the paper and sipped a purple mug of foamy, vanilla coffee.  She took a long, hot shower before dressing for church.  The drive was pleasant.

Then entering the sanctuary, she selected her usual sixth-row pew, spoke to her friends, removed her coat, and sat down.  The choir’s entrance, always to a familiar chorus, signaled the beginning of worship, so when Rita rose with the others and began to sing, nothing seemed different.  Closing her eyes to shut out all but God, Rita stretched her arms skyward and felt the Spirit descend.

When she saw golden rays radiating from a crimson heart, she opened her eyes in disbelief.  Shaking her head profusely to clear it of delusion, she was sure she had seen a reverse image of a glowing, decorative, light bulb. Yet when she closed her eyes again, she saw the heart a second time, being drawn in the air by an invisible hand.  Each stroke was deliberate:  The heart, the rays, then the rectangle—over and over again.

When the song was over, the heart was gone as suddenly as it had appeared, leaving Rita, who now sat on the padded pew, shivering and dizzy.  Although she did not purposely squelch the vision, she did not bask in its afterglow as fully as she might have done had she known how to savor it.  But she did not.

The ineffable heart had spoken to her as gently as the Father to His Beloved.  And when the pastor climbed to his lofty pulpit, Rita opened her Bible to the appropriate text, and, balancing it gracefully on her lap, fixed her eyes on him.  Everything looked normal, but Rita did not hear another word.