February 17, 2022

A Wayside Sacrament

Written by Wisdom Hunters

The deep longing we feel in life’s nostalgic moments is an acute homesickness for heaven.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 17, 2022

by Guest Writer Rachel Prince

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3, NKJV

Have you ever stood in front of a beautiful mountain or sat listening to a live music performance, or perhaps stared into a loved one’s eyes? In these moments, our longing for beauty and the depth of our admiration is so profound that it almost leaves us in pain. We deeply want to capture the moment, to make ourselves a part of that beauty, and yet it is elusive and fleeting, never lasting more than a moment.

We take a picture so we can look back on the beauty, but it isn’t ever as moving as that time in person. We try and record audio clips from a concert on our phones, hoping to relive that special moment for years to come, and yet we cannot conjure up that same feeling. We are left longing for those moments again and again, maybe even chasing after them! That momentary encounter plants a seed of desire within us, and so we long to be in nature, to be face-to-face with those we love, to surround ourselves with beauty. 

One of my favorite quotes comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once said, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

According to Merriam-Webster, a sacrament is “a Christian rite (such as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality.” While the two mentioned in this definition are sacraments with a capital “S”, there are countless other moments in life that, if we have eyes to see them, carry a sacramental quality, places and times that point beyond themselves to the reality and wonder of God. I believe we are so deeply drawn to these moments because we are made in the image of God, and so the deepest part of us is longing for heaven; for wholeness; to be home! 

I recently heard someone speaking about the origin of the word nostalgia and thought it was beautiful! Nostalgia comes from two Greek words: nostos, meaning to return home, and algos, meaning pain. Pain to return home. The deep longing we feel in these nostalgic moments is an acute homesickness! Heaven is our destination, and our world is filled with signposts pointing us towards our true and lasting home. 

Let us appreciate these wayside sacraments, these divine graces, as gifts from our Lord. I pray, just as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, you will never miss an opportunity to allow life’s everyday graces to awaken you to a longing for home. And remember- it is an aching desire that one day will be fulfilled!


Father, thank you for the countless ways you draw us towards yourself and our true home. Give us eyes to see you at work in our world and relationships, and keep our hearts set fully upon our eternal home with you. Amen.


How can you find beauty in each day? How can you connect with that longing for home and thank God for the gift of that moment?

Related Reading

2 Corinthians 5:8; Colossians 1:13; Titus 3:3-7

Worship Resource

Martin Chalk: Better is One Day


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