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THE WONDER OF CONSTANT RECURRENCE

THE WONDER OF CONSTANT RECURRENCE

“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

I came across these ancient words of St. Augustine and felt my eyes start to open to everyday miracles surrounding us.  Augustine got me to thinking about wonders that I miss solely because they are faithful, reliable, “constant recurrence”.  I had never doubted Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine, but had missed the regular recurrence of God turning rain into grape juice, and grape juice into wine year in and year out.

I’m starting to look at God’s constant recurrence happening all around me.  There is the miracle of oranges on the tree ripening before me.  Late summer rain, minerals, and sunshine in God’s food factory transforming into orange juice.  How does God do it, I wonder!  Sure, we learn fancy scientific names for it in school, but scientists do not comprehend how God does it.

I wonder at the miracle of a spider spinning a web in mid air all the way from the orange tree to the wall.  How does that spider know how to do it?  Where did it learn structural engineering and stress analysis?

I wonder at the everyday miracle of the body I inhabit, and a brain that can wonder at it now.  They tell us that every human brain has 100 billion nerve cells, and each cell with 1,000 connections to all other cells, so that together they perform up to 1000 trillion calculations per second.  It’s enough to make the brain want to pause to give thanks!  Then there is the heart and its miracle of not missing a beat, 75 times a minute, circulating 3,000 gallons of blood every 24 hours.

I am now looking at the stubborn, determined Vinca flowers standing victorious over the worst of the summer heat, and all the waterless days we were gone to Minnesota.  I wonder at the Force holding everything together, and God’s love keeping lives from coming apart.  All of these are miraculous, quiet, everyday constant recurrence that we seldom notice.

What would happen if the sun only came around every 75 years like Haley’s Comet, instead of its everyday constant recurrence?  Wouldn’t we throw sun-watching parties and take days off from work!  Wouldn’t we ask oldsters what it was like to actually watch the sunrise, and what its warm rays felt like on their skin!

So many are our everyday miracles if we but open our eyes and open our hearts.   The days fill up with wonder gazing at the smallest things.  We can’t help but feel the beat, feel the nudge, to loosen up shoelaces and loosen up ourselves, for the ground we are standing on is holy.  It’s a miracle!

St. Jerome, a contemporary of Augustine, was asked if he thought the guests at the wedding feast drank all the wine that Jesus had made.  “No”, Jerome said, “we are still drinking it!”  And we are!

Take time today for considering the birds of the air along with Jesus, and watching lilies grow without stress or care.
Time for just being.
Time for just listening for the still small Voice within.
Take time for radical, total amazement at the wonder of existence, and a chance at one more day.
Take time for praising God for everyday constant recurrence, and let His miracles fill you up.

Grace and peace,
Tim

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