A number of years ago now, just as I was entering the process to become an Episcopal priest, I had a prophetic dream.
I rested on a hard wood pew inside what seemed a cathedral. I was sitting near the altar, not in the front row but maybe ten rows back.
“Judgment is coming,” a deep voice boomed. The air felt electrical, as it becomes before a lightning strike. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
When a man dressed as a bishop, wearing a gold miter, appeared and sat on his throne to the right of the altar, people in various parts of the congregation started popping up like jack-in-the-boxes to announce their good deeds—all they’d done in God’s name.
The more people bragged, the more I tried to make myself inconspicuous. I lowered my shoulders and head, trying to slump down in the pew. I hoped I could become invisible. My deeds, like my motives, were mixed. They always had been. I was becoming ever more aware of my Shadow, my dark side, how apt each of us is to project the dark, and act it, without being conscious of what we were doing.
Scattered throughout the Cathedral I realized that some others, not many, were also hunching down in the pews. I began to mumble the words from the Service of Holy Communion. “Oh Lord, I am not worthy so much as to pick up the crumbs under thy table, but say the word only, and I shall be healed.” One by one a few began to go forward for communion, trying to ignore the majority, who were still braying about all they’d done in the name of God.
Finally, I stood up and proceeded to the altar, the focal point of earth and Heaven.
I looked over the large platter of wafers set before me. There was no priest, I noticed, no special ceremony. Everyone administered communion to him- or herself.
Again I paused, thinking of the implications.
Some wafers were flat, like fish food. Some, however, were large and round. I noticed that these looked like giant pearls.
One of the spherical hosts caught my eye. Something about it beckoned.
As I looked, the milkiness of the surface began to clear. Inside, I saw the legs of an alpha linked to those of an omega that had been turned upside down to connect with the alpha. At the very center, as if buttressing the entire structure, was a cross.
Before I knew it—I did not swallow—the sphere was inside me—and I was inside the sphere, standing, looking out, just as I was also looking in.
My vision was double, one eye on earth, the other on Heaven. That is the essential tension of every life that longs to be whole. We act here, but always with something greater in mind.
I’d stepped inside the pearl of great price. Just as I’d taken it in, it had encompassed me. “The dancer, the dance, the singer, the song—all turn, and turn into One, the circle that knows no beginning, no end, the point of all,” I said.
By Thomas Ramey Watson, modified from my forthcoming novel, Reading the Signs: A Paranomal Love Story