At breakfast Friday morning, Bert, his left eye still partially closed from the swelling, asked Brother Daniel if he could clarify something for him about the Rapture.
“Mr. Gilbert, I’m surprised that you have an interest in such matters. Perhaps your recent weekend experience has caused you to reflect on your own relationship with God.”
“That could be it,” said Bert. “But I think it’s probably more of a practical matter.”
“And that would be?” said Brother Daniel.
“Well,” said Bert, “when the faithful rise up to meet Jesus in the sky, will they float up slowly and majestically, giving the rest of us a chance to look up under dresses and such, or will they fire up like Fourth of July rockets, perhaps shedding a shoe or other loose pieces of clothing in the process?”
Michael had just taken a drink of fruit juice and his reaction to Bert’s question was to shoot juice through his nose and to begin choking on the rest, which was the perfect cover for his mirth.
“Mr. Gilbert, your mocking question illustrates why you are to be left behind,” said Brother Daniel as he rose to return to his tent.
“No, really,” said Bert to the retreating figure. “Will everyone have to be outside when it happens or will those inside thump up against the ceiling until they can work their way over to a window or open door?”
Brother Daniel disappeared into his tent.
Michael looked around the table. Mother Daniel and Ruth both had a hand over their mouths, and a tear was working its way down Mother Daniel’s cheek. Ruth’s eyes were squeezed shut. Rebecca had put her head down on her hands, which were resting on the table, and her shoulders bobbed up and down. Petey his face, a mask of bewilderment, just looked from one person to the next.
“These are just practical questions,” said Bert as he stood to clear away his dishes. “It doesn’t mean that I question the theology. Brother Daniel is perhaps too sensitive; back to work, Michael.”
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