Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, February 25, 2008

from A Year of Morning Thanks


Medieval monastics, I’m told, used to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land simply to pick up sand, the dirt on the earth where Jesus walked. Their satchels full, they would lug it back and spread it, like joy, throughout monastery hallways.

My ancestral Calvinists would find that "popish," which is to say, pagan, since they were not big on iconography. But something about Jesus dirt makes me smile. I’m probably enough of a Roman Catholic to think that doffing my sandals and taking a walk there myself would be unforgettable.

I'm not silly. That dirt held nothing of Jesus Christ, nor would it today. But I think it would help make the transcendent at least a bit more imminent—and that kind of transaction isn’t all bad. It’s a job Christ himself came to do, after all—the Word made flesh.

Maybe it’s silly. Maybe not. Even though we live in a post-doctrinal age, I’ll let the theologians decide.

Right here above me, a looming crucifix hangs on my wall, not exactly a wholesome Protestant icon either. I got it from my sister, who got it as a gift from an elderly Roman Catholic lady. My sister didn't think she was supposed to have it, but she couldn't exactly bring herself to throw it away either. Today, it's mine. I relieved her of the theological burden, and now it hangs here on my wall.

It’s Lent, and this morning, I’m thankful it’s here, a reminder, as if it were some very special dirt on the floor.

1 comment:

Real Live Preacher said...

I've noticed the distance between Catholics and Protestants drawing closer as the years go by. We never heard of Lent growing up in the Baptist Church.

But I would like some dirt that Jesus might have walked on. Just as a reminder of what I am made of.