The Feast Day of John Henry Hobart
It rained all through the night, last night, and this morning it was still drizzling. All our parched bodies – human, animal and vegetable – drank deeply of the healing liquid of life. The sky was a sodden blanket the color of damp ash, and it drooped languidly near the earth. The air was cool, actually cool, though humid enough to cut with a knife.
I live in Colorado, where we needed the rain like a drowning person needs air. And it came. It came, and it was gentle enough to seep into the ground instead of flowing off in muddy rivulets into the waiting river beds. We celebrated.
As I walked out to my car in the first light of day I found a spider web strung across the tips of the junipers. It had become a hammock for raindrops. They lay evenly spaced across it like fat little larvae, each completely transparent and shiny, like a jewel. Drawing nearer, I saw the world reflected in each one: trees, grass and sky, and my own curious face Then I lifted my eyes and saw that there were similar jewels everywhere I looked: hanging from the leaves of trees, balancing on the tips of grasses, sliding along the bottoms of telephone wires and even resting in a bumpy mass on my windshield.
If Christ is the rain, I thought, then we are the raindrops. I can’t pretend this was the gateway to Enlightenment. It wasn’t like the experience of the monk who saw the reflection of the moon in a bucket of water and witnessed it shatter when she touched it with a finger. But it did make my heart beat a little faster for a moment when I thought about the essence of Christ flavoring each of us throughout our persons. And I trembled just a little when I thought about the capacity of the human soul to reflect the universe like a drop of water does.
“They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world,” Jesus prays. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
Christ prays thus for each one of us as he did for his followers on the eve of his death. And the prayer is realized in its very expression. Being sanctified – being made, like raindrops, of the healing liquid of life – this is our nature. Belonging not to the collective human understanding that John calls “the world” but reflecting with more and more transparency the abundant multiplicity that is the perspective of God – it is to this that we are called.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. See her work online at Everyday Mysteries With others she manages a website for the Diocese of Colorado highlighting congregations’ creative ministries: Fresh Expressions Colorado