“The miracle of our Lord Jesus Christ in turning water into wine is no surprise to those who know that it was God’s doing. At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee Jesus filled six water pots with wine; but He does the same thing every year in the vines. In like manner also is what the clouds pour forth, changed into wine by the doing of the same Lord. Only that does not amaze us because it happens every
year; it loses its wonder by its constant recurrence.” (St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel of John)
Yesterday I read these ancient words of St. Augustine and felt my eyes open wide to the wonders all around me. I began to see God’s everyday miracles that I had missed only because of their faithful, reliable, and “constant recurrence”. I had always believed the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana, but somehow missed His miracle of turning the rain into juice on the vine, and the juice into wine.
I then wondered at God’s everyday miracles that were happening all around me as I read St. Augustine in our back yard. There was the miracle of oranges ripening on the tree before my eyes. Rain, minerals, and sunshine in God’s food factory being transformed into orange juice. How God does it, I do not know! I learned a fancy name for it in college, but while the scientists can describe the process, they don’t really understand it. I wondered at the miracle of a spider web a few feet from me, suspended in mid air all the way from the orange tree to the wall. I wondered who had taught the spider structural engineering and weaving.
I had to wonder also at the miracle of my own body, and a brain that was capable of such wonderment. The human brain has 100 billion nerve cells, each cell with 1,000 connections to all the other nerve cells, together performing up to 1000 trillion calculations per second. My brain paused to give grateful thought to the miracle of my heart and its “constant recurrence” of a beat. That beat happens 75 times per minute, reliantly pumping 3,000 gallons of my blood every day.
I wondered at the Vinca flowers beside me that triumphed over the summer’s blistering heat and waterless weeks we were gone to Minnesota. I wondered at the laughter of children down the street, and the quiet joy of sitting in the autumn sun. I wondered at the force that holds the atom together, and at the force of God’s love that holds me together. All are God’s everyday miracles so often overlooked and not marveled at simply because of their “constant recurrence.”
I wondered what it would be like, if instead of the sun’s daily “constant recurrence”, it only came around like Haley’s Comet, every 75 years. How eagerly we would ask parents, grandparents, or any available elder, to describe what it was like to have once seen the sun rise. We would ask for every last detail of what the sun looked like mounting up in the east and dispelling the darkness. How excitedly we would plan parties and So numerous are the daily miracles we would begin to see, if only we would start looking and paying attention. How overcome with amazement and joy we would be at the wonder of God’s every day miracles. We would feel the urge to rip the shoes and socks right off our feet, because the ground on which we are standing is holy each and every day of our lives.
In the fourth century St. Jerome was asked if he thought the guests at the wedding in Cana of Galilee drank all the wine that Jesus made. “No”, said Jerome with a twinkle, “We are still drinking it!”
Take time today for considering the birds of the air
and green oranges ripening on the tree.
Take time for just being still
and listening for the still small Voice in all the hurly burly.
Take time for radical awe and amazement
at yet one more day’s gift of life to us.
Take time to let the daily miracle of the “constant recurrence” of God’s love wash over you
and fill you up to overflowing.
Grace and peace–Tim
Photo by philipstorry