David Anderson is rector of Trinity Church in Solebury, Pennsylvania, and a columnist for the Pennsylvania Episcopalian. He is married and has two daughters. In this inspirational collection of essays, he notes: "In all religious traditions, the door to the numinous stands in the ordinary." We just need to keep out eyes and ears open to notice it. Wonderful revelations will take us by surprise while we're doing our chores or attending to our work. Anderson puts it this way: "There is in fact some ultimate purpose in this drama, and I have a speaking part. These epiphanies are not always glorious; there are moments when I understand how pain has a strangely rightful place, and how inscrutable life finally is. But even then, it is enough to know that this is the truth."
Spirituality hits the road in all departments of our lives. What is needed is constant discernment of the presence of God. Anderson finds meaning in helping his wife prepare for a dinner party, going shopping with his daughters, waiting in the doctor's office, fighting a traffic ticket, and watering plants in the garden late at night. What is so salutary about the author's perspective is his openness to being transformed in these everyday situations. Anderson calls them "Nicodemus moments."
Deep human emotions are explored in the author's commentary on the death of his mother, a visit to his widowed father, and an account of the church burning down. But my favorite vignette centers around a five-year-old boy whose mother kisses him on the forehead and he responds, "Mom, that's where God kisses me every Sunday." When she doesn't understand, the boy explains, "You know at church at communion." The boy has been moved by the ritual blessing when Anderson traces the sign of the cross on his forehead. Just a small thing but, oh, what a wide and wondrous testimony to the abundant grace of God. D. H. Lawrence once called wonder our sixth sense, a natural religious sense. Anderson's tutorial on this spiritual practice is refreshing.