The old woman in ICU wants to rail against the Church.
Patriarchy, she says, hierarchy, and I sit and listen.
“But you’re dying,” I say. “Why are we talking about this? Why does any of this matter?”
And the sun slants through the dusty window. My Roman collar chafes. On the monitor, the peaks and valleys of her failing heart.
“May I give you communion?” I ask her. And she says, “would that mean I’d have to come back to the Church?”
“No,” I say. “No. It will be our little secret.”
In Jesus the difference between matter and spirit has been forever transcended. What’s miraculous isn’t the walking on water but the water itself, is the lake, the Sea of Galilee, thirteen miles long and eight miles wide, with the sun rising over it in the mornings, and every lake, Yellowstone Lake and Lake Pend Oreille and even Cronemiller Lake, the pond in the woods by our house in Oregon, because God is everywhere, lovely in 10,000 places. The miracle is life itself, is the ordinary.
This is why we come to church, to offer up these moments, to consecrate them and so become more aware of them, to give thanks for them.
Just a shape at first, wide and blank, merging with my own dark outline on the road, the shadow of a hawk passes over my shoulder, so suddenly I flinch, I start, as if some unexpected hand has touched my actual body.
But gently, without a sound.
Seeming to dissolve then and rise, become three-dimensional: a sparrowhawk, golden, gliding just before me along the curve, a single feathered muscle pushing off finally above the fields, behind it, in the delicate sky, bulging in air, the afternoon moon, as huge and sudden as a world.
from Chris Anderson, Light When It Comes (Eerdmans: 2016)