God of Revelation, we don't know what heaven will be like, because we cannot fathom Your glory. Some days, though, I imagine it will be like this: Jane Austen has been writing novels since she died, and when I die I get to read them all.
This is not my most intricate theological take on beatific vision. But it isn't entirely foolish, either.
There is something holy in precise and illuminating use of language. There is grace in seeing straight through human pretensions and still hoping things turn out right in the end.
Jane Austen, through her writing, resisted sexism, classism, and idiocy. Her novels are still a rebellion today, because they testify to the power of language to reveal truth. Of course I never met Mrs. Norris. But when I read about her I gasped in recognition.
I give thanks for Jane Austen, who died 200 years ago today. Amen.