I had the sacramental experience this morning of opening a new book (The Singing Bowl) written by a dear friend (Malcolm Guite). I have no doubt that it was a holy moment, but the meticulous English teacher part of my brain insisted on being completely sure that sacramental was an acceptable and appropriate word to use. So I consulted my friends Merriam-Webster and the OED, and they backed me up.
A sacrament is ‘a thing of mysterious and sacred significance.’ I believe a brand new book, never read before, written by someone I love is most certainly a thing of mysterious significance. Even knowing the poet, even having heard some of the poems before, does not diminish the mystery of what may lie hidden here. (Mystery, by the way, is ‘something secret, strange, difficult or impossible to understand or explain’ and also ‘truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.’) And sacred means, at its simplest, ‘connected with God,’ which Malcolm’s work undoubtedly is.
Malcolm, through his words, shows us images of a life lived in the sacred mystery, and shares what glimpses he has caught of the God with whom we are connected, the God-with-us in our deepest darkness drawing us into light.