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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, September 07, 2012

Friday Focus: Another Day, Another Miracle

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.  Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.  He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."  But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go--the demon has left your daughter." So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Mark 7:24-37
In this week’s gospel Jesus is at it again. This time he restores the hearing of a deaf man. This is right after raising a girl from the dead, feeding the multitude and walking on water. And it’s right before curing a blind man. Just another day at the office for Jesus… or so it might appear to those of us raised on a regular diet of scriptural wonders. And that can be a real danger.
For too many, Christ’s miracles have become merely a leit-motif running through a body of beliefs that only occasionally are in synch with their realities. As average Christians we don’t consciously deny Christ’s miracles. We just take them for granted, when we take them at all. We tend to isolate miracles in the context of the long ago and the far away. And as hard-nosed inhabitants of the 21st century, “What have you done for me lately?” is the operative question.
To the cynical, the distracted, the bored, Jesus commands: Ephphata (Be opened.)Open your hearts. Open your minds. Open your senses. Open your will to believe. In the lyric of Oscar Hammerstein, “A hundred million miracles are happening every day.” And that’s a gross under-estimate. On the macro-scale of miracles, start with the ongoing order of the universe. Intense study of its creation and preservation awed Einstein to affirm the inevitability of God’s hand in the magnificent mechanism.
Follow this up with a closer examination of our own tiny patch of the universe.  While other religions have mixed positions on miracles, Christianity is based entirely on a miracle… the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Paul says: If Christ be not risen, your faith is worthless. But Christ is risen and our faith is priceless.
We can clearly see that in the many micro-miracles that witness Christ’s love in our own lives… our very ordinary lives that become extraordinary by living them in Christ… our petty prejudices that are transformed into genuine love of neighbor… our grudges and resentments that become forgiveness and lift the crushing burden of anger from our hearts…our smug pride banished and replaced by serenity…our fears and depression that blossom into hope and joy…our faltering faith that becomes an unassailable refuge in times of trouble…all this and more.
Some still try to explain it all away on a molecular level as just an acquired reaction to stimulus, a roundabout route to achieve an endorphin rush. But the guiding hand of God is undeniably evident, a hundred million times a day, when his people seek and find his will. And these many, many micro-miracles add up to better lives and a better world. Commenting on the cumulative effect of micro-miracles, C.S. Lewis wrote: “Each miracle writes for us in small letters something that God has already written in letters almost too large to be noticed across the whole canvas of nature.” In Christ each one of us is invited to a lifetime of such wonders …Another Day, Another Miracle.



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