Sometimes I feel alienated from the land. After being closed up inside, in the library and in my basement study, I miss the long summer days of mowing and digging ditches that I once knew.
I was thinking about the sacraments the other day. Where does the water come from that we use to baptise? Out of a faucet. Where does the wine/juice come from? Out of a bottle from the store. The bread? Out of a box. (Ours does, anyway. It’s matzoh!) But it hasn’t always been that way.
Once I would have known the water from the river, where I got my drinking water and washed my clothes. I would have known the feet that crushed the grapes that had made the wine… or they would have been my own. I might have known the hands or the mule that turned the millstone to crush the grain for the bread. So much of the beauty of the sacraments is the making holy of the ordinary. God has made all of creation good, including the water I wash with. The goodness of the sacraments is a reminder of the goodness of the mundane.
So I did a funny thing yesterday. I rode my bike down to the Mississippi, two miles from my house. I walked down the boat ramp to the water and watched the crane lifting scrap iron onto a barge. I dipped my fingers in the water, splashed my forehead, and blessed myself.