You may remember from high school science class that a supersaturated solution is one in which more of something is dissolved in a liquid than could be under normal conditions. The solution sits in supersaturation unless and until something acts upon it to force the excess to precipitate out, or, more spectacularly shown in the gif above, crystallization occurs. If you have ever enjoyed a piece of rock candy, you have experienced a crystallized supersaturated solution. In two of our lessons on Sunday, we learn that the Kingdom of God is something like that.
Psalm 23, everybody’s second favorite Olde English thing (next to a good Thug Life tattoo) is often remembered for the “valley of the shadow of death” in verse 4, but I love Psalm 23 because of verse 5. The Book of Common Prayer translation reads thusly,
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
God’s grace supersaturates our lives such that feasts can be enjoyed right in the midst of our enemies. Our heads, like those of kings, are anointed with oil. Our cup runneth over. The Hebrew word there is literally translated as “saturated.” Its root word carries connotations of abundance, soaking wet, and drunkenness. The cup that God has prepared for us, even in the valley of death, right in the sight of our detractors, remains abundantly full. In God, even in the midst of hardship, our blessings are supersaturated.
Our Gospel lesson from John 10 suggests something similar. Jesus, you’ll recall, is standing in the presence of his enemies when he tells the man born blind, the Pharisees, and anyone who would here, that he has come into the world so that we might have abundant life. The Greek here suggests excessiveness, superabundance, and even superfluousness. God’s grace acts as a supersaturated solution in our lives. When acted upon by outside forces, it sometimes precipitates out so that in the midst of hardship we can see it, taste it, and feel it. Sometimes, the pressure to lose sight of it is so great that it might have to crystallize in spectacular fashion. I think maybe that’s what miracles are all about.
This Sunday, we will hear about the overflowing love of God. We’ll be reminded that even in the hard times, God’s grace does not shy away. Once again, we will bring to mind the gift of abundant life that God offers each of us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Even as we give up on resurrection accounts, we will hear of the power of Easter, the abundant resurrected life that God desires to pour out on all of humanity.