How many times do you utter the phrase, "it's a miracle!" Maybe when your child picks up after him- or herself, or when your teenager actually calls to let you know that they are delayed, or when your co-worker finally submits a report before the deadline? But I think that we all also have stories, only told to intimate friends, of something more akin to the miracles that Jesus performed. When I was a teenager, a young woman in a wheelchair joined our church. She was terminally ill, and she asked members of the church to meet with her and pray for healing once a week. Many months later she arrived at church walking. I asked my father about her, and he, the one who had taken so much time in my childhood and teenage years to explain the bible to me in clear, simple terms, was almost speechless. "I think the only thing we can do is call it a miracle", he told me, and that had a profound affect on me at a time when I had so far understood my involvement in church and worship as a process of finding clarity, not mystery.
At the suggestion of one of the parents, I am teaching the Firelight class all about the miracles of Jesus in the next few weeks. Firstly, these are fundamental stories of Jesus' ministry - the feeding of the five thousand, the loaves and the fishes, Jesus' first ever miracle of changing the water into the wine at a wedding feast. Our children need to know these stories. But also, our children need to know that miracles are part of our Christian narrative, our Christian faith, and our personal understanding that all things are possible with God! Like everyone else, I sometimes struggle with accepting the impossible as possible. How could these things have happened? How do we understand them as modern people? And yet the gospel writers wrote down these events with just as much veracity as any other story that flanks them. Those who were there saw these things, and whilst some of the miracles were joyful events, some were really scary. Can you imagine being in a boat in the middle of a serious storm, and seeing a man walking towards you in the water? Some of them were terrified - and of course Peter immediately clambered out of the boat, and tried to do the thing
that Jesus was doing-and failed.
We are a people of faith, and we are called to accept these stories. When we cannot quite do that, we remember the words of a father who brought his son to Jesus to be healed, in the gospel of Mark.
"Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” "(Mark 9:23-24)
And his son was healed.