Today, my friend Toby tagged me in a Facebook comment about a review of Gregory Wolfe's new book, Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age. In the review, written by Elias Crim, I found this:
[Wolfe] notes the late Welsh poet David Jones’s observation—in the latter’s “Art and Sacrament”—that the Eucharist, the preeminent Christian sacrament, consists of bread and wine, not wheat and grapes. “In other words, the gifts offered to God at the altar are not the untouched products of the earth but artifacts, transformed through human hands through an art.”
Well, I suppose there is some sort of art to making bread that doesn't resemble bread at all, but that's another story. What really struck me, of course, is the fact that Jesus didn't just use some natural and easily available food to confect the Sacrament, but chose something that we would have to make, chose specifically two things that would have to be crushed. I know I've heard sermons about the crushing aspect before, but the fact that the Eucharistic required human work has never crossed my mind.
This reminds me of two of the reasons why we pray and why we suffer--why Paul says in Colossians that we make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. It's so we can participate in His redemptive act. I know that many times we all think, "Well, I could do without that," but in truth, we can't. If we want to be part of the Body of Christ, we have to be part of the Body of Christ, which, of course, is the beauty that will save the world--already has saved it.