There is life in this orange. Glowing, juicy, messy life even touched with blood. This is an orange from Venezuela; a Cara Cara Orange, distinguishable by its pink hue. It is sort of a cross between a navel orange and a blood orange. It is like eating heaven; like eating God.
The author John Philip Newell writes of Johannes Scotus Eriugena who famously said that “every visible and invisible creature is an appearance of God.”
This orange inspires me to ask questions about thanksgiving. We say it is “Eucharist” and I agree. But I also wonder about the rigidity of the bread and wine-taking we do. Eriugena also warns us against rigidity – for rigidity in theology – in anything – makes things break.
The altar is said to be Holy. Is the tree stump on which bread is broken and wine sipped? The chalice is said to be Holy but is the clay cup when used to celebrate God between two or more? The “host” or “communion wafer” is said not to be holy until a priest makes it Holy. Then it is “Holy.” Is that so? Is the walk to the altar rail more holy than the walk to the water fall? Are things made “Holy” or are they vibrating with holiness to begin with? Does the making of things Holy serve much more than to fuel clergy egos?
Someone recently asked me if I love the Church. The question lingered between us for a while. I could hear the cracking of bones on the rack, the iron maiden closing a bit; with a creak of rust hinges. I took great care before speaking. One must these days. Take great care, I mean. Or not and pay the price. Which can be a great adventure of its own.
I responded that I love everything in the cosmos. Every Rock vibrates with God. Every Flower shimmers of God. Every Milkshake delicious-es with God. Every Orange pinks with God. We begin the word “God” with a capital letter as an honorific. Why only “God?” Why not “Orange?” Is it because the greengrocer is not ordained? Has no magical powers?
When I bit into this Orange, I could feel the juice – drink it. I could feel the chill. I could catch some sweet and some tart even. A miracle. The color – orange and pink with a white-orange halo – Holy, Holy, Holy.
“Observe the forms and beauties of sensible things and comprehend the Word of God in them. if you do so, said Eriugena, the truth will reveal to you in all such things only He (The One) who made them.”
I do not believe any human being lacks the ability to be a mystic. In fact I believe we are all mystics. This news is, perhaps, deeply disappointing to people who want to be seen as mystics. Sorry. Perhaps a new sweater will improve their mood a bit. Or a fabulous hat or scarf. Something which sets them apart. But I think that a person who is able to fully be present when eating a Cara Cara Orange and who can see God in that Orange is a person fully alive.