10/09/2013 03:17 pm ET Updated Dec 09, 2013

Pastor Talitha Cumi: New York City, June 11, 2005


I'm walking westbound on 76th Street on this incredibly hot, humid Saturday afternoon. Tank tops and flip-flops are the prevailing dress code today. I see her walking toward me, fully clad in a brilliant red dress and feathered headpiece, a stunning impossible vision that for an instant I think is a heat mirage. I want to say something as she passes by, but I'm dumbfounded by her elegant luminosity. On instinct, I circle the block and there she is again, coming around on 75th Street. This time I say hello. I'm drenched and though I see her skin also glistening from the heat. She is graceful, composed and friendly. We stand there talking for quite a while. A man looking on from his second story window comes down and snaps some pictures of her. "I'm a painter!" he says. After he leaves, she continues on about her radio ministry and about the presence of God in the world. "It's not about religion or about black, white, blue or red," she says. "Spirit and divinity are everywhere. You and I standing here talking, we're holding a service!" Amen, sister. Amen.

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