Who is this that speaks without knowledge? a Voice thundered in their heads. The words vibrated through all of them, shaking them to the core. But it was the presence of the Light that mattered the most; it opened each of them to themselves, showing them what each really was. And yet, despite the harsh words and the overwhelming Presence, all felt an undercurrent of humor... and a love beyond their comprehension.
"I'll admit, I don't know what's been going on." Birch's voice was meek and shaky, far from the confident desk patrol persona he always wore. "This divertee has broken... I lost count of how many rules. And I don't know what's with the higher-ups. They've stepped in for far less."
They act on My will, the Voice replied. Both of these have learned much, and Ronald Guyton has succeeded in an endeavor where several before him have failed. And as he himself has said, Andrea Harling was both instrumental in his success, and has less blame upon her than any of you. Speak now, Ronald Guyton, and do not presume to be silent before Me.
"All—all I can say is—You said it Yourself—Andrea's—she doesn't deserve to go back," Guyton stammered. "Send me there in her place if You have to, I deserve it more than her, but don't do... that."
Bear witness to these words. There is no greater love than what was just spoken before you. And I see that same love in Andrea Harling. These two have learned to love. They have begun to learn mercy. But there is one thing yet for all of you to learn: redemption.
"Redemption?" Andrea looked up at last. Guyton thought he would be happy to die a thousand times to see her look of hope once again. Especially if that hope were fulfilled.
Redemption. This is My word: the church that Marcus Della Verne built has been a force for great evil, but it could yet be a force for even greater good. The members are like sheep gone astray, although many are sincere, and they need a shepherd who has truly seen what is at stake to lead them. So shall the two of you return to your lives, and see that they have a leader.
"Us?" Guyton squeaked. "I don't know nothing about preaching!"
And yet, by My word, you are qualified. Go now, and learn of redemption. Teach it to others.
"What about Birch and Astin?" Guyton asked. "They did help me figure out some stuff, even if they didn't get everything right. Will you give them another chance?"
They have learned much, yet they have more to learn. They will be judged by how they apply what they learn. As will you. Now, depart. Learn. Teach. And you will see Me again.
A grey mist enveloped Guyton and Andrea. "This is gonna be weird," Guyton whispered.
"At least we'll be together," Andrea replied, making him grin.
"Hey, Guyton," said Astin. "Thanks for putting in a good word."
"Good luck, guys." Guyton was not sure if they heard, for the mist now obscured everything, muffling his voice.
Then it cleared, and they stood in the office they had departed—minutes ago? A week? Time gets all wonky, Guyton thought.
There came a rap at the door, and Cassie poked her head in. "Pastor? I sent the notes to your computer. The press conference is at three. Let me know if you need anything else."
"Okay," Guyton replied automatically, and Cassie left.
"Ten-thirty," said Andrea, looking at the desk clock. "That gives you four and a half hours before you have to face the public."
"Before we face the public," Guyton retorted. "We're in this together."
"Not as scary as the interview we just had, though."
Andrea shivered. "You got that right. We can do this."
"Maybe all things really are possible."
YOU ARE READING
There's a special place in Hell for those who abuse their authority, and Ronald Guyton abused his with gusto. But on his way to his final reward, he finds himself diverted. Damned souls return to the world of the living, looking to pull a few more o...