In BURNT on March 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm


Deacons move among the faithful, ushering the crippled and the lame to the aisles.  The news spreads through the auditorium and into the balconies; Sister will be doing no healings on this day, the first day of the new Temple.

Lights dim and the ceiling glows.  All, converted and curious alike, lift their eyes to see painted clouds cross the baby-blue sky.  The choir begins to sing.  Their voices soar; they crescendo!

Sister Aimee Semple McPherson appears on the altar.  Her white robes shimmer in a hot blaze of spotlight.  A bouquet of roses burns bright red in her hands.  “How do you like the new Gospel tent?”  Cheers erupt from the gathered multitude.  “Its sloping poles are now pillars, its sagging roof a mighty dome.  The openings that showed the evening stars have now become arched windows, and through them stream the light of His blessing…”

Everyone is caught up in her words, the new temple, the uplifting notes of the orchestra, the choir.

No one sees the cripple until he’s nearly at the altar.

His head is enormous, swollen and matted with blood.  One arm hangs useless beneath a bulging shoulder.  He drags himself forward on stiff legs.  His ragged clothing smells of smoke.  A trail of blood stains the carpet beneath his bare and mud-caked feet.

Sister halts her sermon mid-sentence.  Ushers rush forward but she stops them with her upheld hands.  The choir’s hymn is swallowed whole by the sudden silence.

The man is lifting a pile of rags towards her.  She kneels and takes the filthy bundle.  Inside is a tiny baby girl.

Her eyes connect with Clay.

Just before he collapses, a moment of true and magnificent love passes between them.

The Story So Far

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