Every once in awhile I see something that burns a forever image in my soul. I saw that something last week in Taos, New Mexico. In a small gallery tucked away down a back alley rested a striking reminder of the sacrament of the Eucharistic Cup.
An artisan using wood as his medium created the image of beauty and pain. With a lathe he crafted a local piece of wood into a short, fat cup no tall than eight inches. More cup than chalice, the red wood was filled with knots and imperfections. Yet, the artist was able to smooth the rough service that made it gentle to the touch.
At the mouth of the cup he allowed the natural surface of the wood to emerge and protrude over the lip at least three inches. It was as if the cup was still attached to the rough wood from which it was birthed. Somehow the artist had blessed the possibility that the cup was cut from the Cross.
Under the lip from which no single person could easily drink a twist of brambles was wrapped around the cup. If I was drawn to drink from the cup my bottom lip would have to share the crown of thorns.
Down the side of the cup were two knots, broken and open to the boldness of the imagination. Dripping from each knot was one drop of the most red "blood." How could I even hold the cup without getting "blood" on my hands?
Could I share in this cup? Would I dare take a drink and risk getting blood on my hands? Is it possible that I would place the cup to my lips and wound my own flesh? An image seared into my soul to connect the Sunday chalice to the sufferings of my Lord.