While trekking through the high sage desert, I found Christ trapped in a ruined Church, shattering the stained glass windows, rattling the prison bars, pounding on the door from inside. Chains and shackles of dogma bound his wrists and ankles, more terrible than any nail wounds.
"You, you have the key!" He shouted, "Open the door!" He was pointing frantically at my mouth.
"What key?" I asked.
"Your breath," he replied.
So I breathed through the keyhole of that ancient door until it opened, whereupon Christ became a rare white mother raven with a wingspan that stretched to the far horizons, East and West. She rose into the sky, carrying the moon and all the stars in her beak. She grasped the earth in her talons like a mouse.
Spiraling outward to the end of the ages, then circling back to the present moment, she perched on my shoulder by my left ear and whispered, "You, you are the Christ too, filled with my Holy Spirit." This jolted me so deeply that I woke up, terrified.
"Woe is me!" I cried, "I am a man of unclean lips!" It was early Sunday morning. Quickly, I cleansed myself from the dream, brushed my teeth, and departed for Church to confess the sinful things I had imagined.
Pastel: Alala, sacred raven of Hawaii, by my dear friend Liz Miller.