Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rediscovering Wonder

How much do you believe in miracles? Everyone who says he or she is a Christian is someone who believes in miracles to some extent, or do they? I mean, you believe that a man died and then rose from the dead.

You believe that this man was actually also God.
You believe that the death and resurrection of this God-man atoned for the sins of mankind.

So already, everytime you attend a church service and profess belief in this miracle, you should be thought of as a person who believes in miracles.

Until someone claims God healed their cancer.
Until someone tells you God spoke to them.
Until someone tells you God is calling them to do something drastic.

Why do we suspend our belief in a supernatural God who does supernatural things when that God helps us or someone in our group of friends? If a man walked into your church and announced that God had healed his wife of cancer miraculously, would your first thought be "Well, God gave doctors their gifts and talents so in a way that might be true?" If so, repent of that.

We believe in two worlds, a physical and a spiritual. We believe in a mystical, eastern faith based on the facts of God's transcendence into the natural order and beyond the natural order. We believe in a Savior who, after He rose from the dead, told His followers they would do and see greater things than He.

St. Francis once saved a village from a wolf who was menacing the villagers. He approached the wolf in the woods and spoke to it, making an arrangement with it to not attack the villagers or their livestock if they promised to put food out for it. "Brother wolf," as St. Francis called him, bowed to Francis and placed his paw in the saint's hand as a sign of agreement.

I know many of you are going to immediately draw the line at becoming God's Dr. Doolittle. Most of you will probably say this story is bogus. The story of Francis and the wolf of Gubbio is one of the most well-known stories of the saint. It was recorded by historians of his day as well as other events from his life. That said, if we throw out stories like this one, how much of Saint Francis' life are we to throw out? If the same historians who recorded this story as "history" also wrote other, more "believable" stories about St. Francis, do we throw those stories out too?

St. Peter, under the power of the Holy Spirit, healed a paralyzed man. That story is recorded in the book of Acts. Do we believe that story simply because it's canonical? Do we throw out any miracle that didn't occur in the Bible because someone with "the Apostle" before his name didn't write about it? Did God just stop doing miracles?

I believe in miracles. As I attempt to curb my cynicism and embrace the mystical, I am learning more about the God I serve: a God who really enjoys invading the natural world and shaking things up a bit. This God has acted throughout history and the Bible is record of those actions. This God didn't stop acting because John finished writing Revelation and so there was nothing more to be done. This God is continuing the work that STARTED on the cross, and is not content with allowing people to live mundane, fruitless lives devoid of wonder or mystery.

Run back to it. Run back to the child-like acceptance of miracles. Return to the mystery of God's continual dance throughout space and time.

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.