Wednesday, April 3rd
Throughout the year, the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for April 3rd: 2 Kings 4:1-7; Psalm 53; and Luke 9:10-17. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
Yesterday I posted on the church’s FaceBook page the Daily Devotion offering of Quinn Caldwell. It was a hopeful offering about believing in miracles. This is his closing prayer: “God, your world is full of wonders and mysteries. Let me not be too quick to dismiss them, and let me, at least sometimes, believe them before it’s wise.”
I believe in miracles, but miracles also worry me. Miracles are unexpected and we can even say undeserved. A miracle may be granted to a prophet’s wife as in the 2 Kings selection or to random strangers as in today’s passage from Luke. We can’t pray extra hard to deserve a miracle, but that doesn’t mean that praying for a miracle is without merit. I worry though about miracles because when they are not granted some people may feel abandoned by God, unheard, unrecognized.
Have you ever thought of doing something nice for someone and then thought to yourself that others will feel hurt because you didn’t do it for them? Then, that sort of thinking can stop you from doing anything out-of-the-ordinary nice. Miracles are not supposed to make us resentful when they’re not granted to us. Miracles are supposed to make God’s reality clearer no matter who is so blessed. It may be fairer if miracles ceased, but it would be at the expense of wonder, and that’s just too expensive.
I personally concentrate more on ordinary miracles, but the extraordinary ones that are the typical definition of miracle should not be dismissed automatically as belonging to a more credulous faith. They give God the chance to be extraordinarily nice and that does not seem to be out of character. Wonder is a gift that miracles and miracle stories share evenly, and in our world that is not a bad thing. The harsh reality of life is made quite clear in the fact that not even Jesus could escape the world’s meanness. So thank God for the unexpected and undeserved wonder of those occasional miracles.
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