The Sacrament of Nature

into the mountainsI love being in places where one can recall and receive the sacrament of nature. God’s cathedral engages all the senses. There is over-much to take in for the eye-gate; the foot feels the soft pad of dust and needles. The nostrils fill with the scent of pine or sage, and the ear hears the white noise of water over rocks or the choir of birds and insects.

Grace pervades the soul and the Spirit rushes by in wind and water, and my prayers reach heavenward disguised as sparks from a fir log in the fire.

I watch the the water run over the terraced rocks and wonder whether I am like the ever-running water orterraced water over stones the silently enduring rocks.  The water is every millisecond a different shape, never stopping and always the same, flowing and flowing. The rocks sit stolidly, watching them reveals no change, but year by year they are molded by the eternally running water.

Which is more about life: the rocks or the water? I observe the drop of the land and the twisting course of the river and note that the water shows no sign of having cut the path, but seems to flow as directed, and I muse on the interdependence of leader and follower.

Grace is always available but must be observed and accepted to be received in all its capacity. I think the unconscious effect is never so transformative as when received and welcomed, cherished and imbibed. Nature overflows with grace and yet is inhabited by “red in tooth and claw.” This is the way of our world, I think.

Rain falls on the righteous and the wicked, but only those who notice and practice gratitude receive the full grace. The water falls over the rocks whether anyone sees, but the sprites watch and the angels hear, and sometimes we are there to drink deep and receive the peace.

The dominical sacraments work like this too. They do their work whether we recognize it or not, but the effect is enhanced and expanded by our observation. Start with paying attention and add gratitude into the mix, then watch to see what happens over time. You are the rocks and the elements are the water.

terraced water over stones2

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