The Piano Lesson
How we cite our quotes:
Avery: "The train stopped and these three hobos got off. They told me they had come from Nazareth and was on their way to Jerusalem." (1.1.255)
Here, Avery talks about the vision, which inspired him to become a preacher. His vision is an interesting spiritual blend. The three hobos seem to represent the Three Magi or wise men who are said to have witness Jesus birth. However, in Avery's dream they are hobos, just like the hobos that make up part of the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog. Therefore, you could say that Avery's vision blends Christianity with folk traditions.
Avery: "We looked out and the valley was full of wolves. The voice told us that these sheep people […] had to go to the other side of this valley and somebody had to take them." (1.1.255)
In Avery's vision, it seems like he's being called upon to be a shepherd of sorts. He must guide the innocent sheep people though a valley full of hungry wolves. This imagery of sheep, wolves, and shepherds is prominent all through the Bible. Jesus is often described as a shepherd leading his flock. Interestingly, he's also described as a lamb, because of the Christian belief that he was sacrificed for humanity's sins (lambs were common sacrificial animals).
Avery: "My head felt like it was on fire…but I had a peace about myself that was hard to explain. I knew right then that I had been filled with Holy Ghost and called to be a servant of the Lord." (1.1.255)
It seems this part of Avery's vision is alluding to the tongues of fire that the Bible says appeared above Jesus' disciple's heads after his resurrection. After this flame appeared above their heads, they set out to spread the word of Christ. In Avery's dream, the same thing happens to him. When he wakes up, he feels the call to become a preacher.