The Garden of Tears. The Garden of Eden. Things happen in gardens. Life begins in gardens. The soil gives rise to plants, and plants to all life. We are from the soil. Soil and spirit. The drops of agonising sweat fall back to the ground, the life blood of the Creator returns to the soil redeeming the earth, redeeming Eden, redeeming us. This is the agony of redemption. The betrayal by Judas. A man hangs from a rope on a tree (Matthew’s Gospel). Three betrayals by Peter. A cock crows. A man weeps bitterly. How much agony can one night stand?
Cuthbert may be dead, but his body, like that of Jesus, was integral to his life of holiness and, more than this, being made of the soil of the earth, again like that of Jesus, creation was being sanctified through it. Even after his death, his body retains a connection with his spirit, as it awaits resurrection. And through this connection God’s Holy Spirit works its healing power through soil and water on a poor lad suffering from some terrible mental illness. There is a profound integration of matter and spirit here.