3 December 2003, dress rehearsal at St. Joseph’s:
The evening light in the church is rose, mysterious and evocative. It is December, month of short dark days. These days, I have been darkly musing. Deficient in my accomplishments, strivings incomplete, relationship faltering. Worst, world-worry heavy around my shoulders. Sorrow.
We are on the risers, standing as we rehearse The Messiah. The bass soloist, Paul Thompson, rises and begins to sing:
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”
Dana Kemp plays his trumpet. Deep resonant bass voice:
“The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Dusky dark rose lifts and lightens. Light rises and fills me from within and envelops the choristers, the orchestra, the soloists–all. I am transported to the time when we shall indeed all be changed.
No more broken bodies or raging minds, no more sagging, deflated spirits, no more sad intolerance for others’ differences. No more barriers, suffering, or pain. We are changed, each one of us.
I am there. In these transcendent moments, we are all changed, blessed by gentle drifting rose light, lit from within, each one of us. Each person is glowing, from within. Changed.
Yes, I too: I am changed, no longer imperfect, no longer lacking, no longer deficient in my capacity for compassion and love.
How long did this transcendent state linger? How many minutes was the light different, changed, my spirit lifted and transformed? I cannot say, but it was clear that I, and we, were in another dimension.
Would I call this epiphany a vision, a religious experience? I cannot say, I know only that those minutes in St. Joseph’s are indelibly etched on my heart, have become a part of me.
Carol Davison, alto