Friday, 27 July 2018

Where Do Miracles Come From?

There is a contrast between the two apostle’s Andrew and Philip, that Jesus chose to accompany him and continue his ministry. Philip was the man who said: “The situation is hopeless; there is nothing to be done.” Andrew was the man who said: “I’ll see what I can do; (and after his experiences with God through Jesus) I’ll trust that through Jesus Christ God will do the rest. It was Andrew who bought the lad to Jesus, and by bringing him, made the miracle possible that we find written in John 6. If you like it, we could say Andrew enabled the event to take place. No one ever knows what will happen and what will come out of it when we bring someone or something to Jesus.

If a parent trains their child in the knowledge of God and in the love and fear/awe of God, no one knows what mighty things that child might someday do for God and humankind. There is a story of an old German school master who, when he entered his class of boys in the morning, used to remove his cap and bow ceremoniously to them. He was asked why he did this. His answer was: You never know what one of these boys may someday become. He was right – because one of these boys was named Martin Luther. This man was the man who encouraged the Church to re look at its direction and its relationship with God.

Andrew did not know what he was doing when he brought that lad to Jesus on that day. Today, we know that he was providing the material for a miracle. How often are we in the same position? How often do we have the opportunity to enable a miracle to take place? Do we instead miss those opportunities? We never know and may never know until we meet our God face to face. I sometimes wonder what if I have missed being there for Jesus but then remember that our God always provides us with new opportunities.

Those gathered around Jesus and his disciples did not have much to offer but out of what he had Jesus found were the materials for a miracle. It does not matter whether we accept the food multiplied literally or whether it encouraged all those gathered to share what they had. There would have been one great and shining deed fewer in history if that boy had withheld his loaves and fishes. The fact is that Jesus needs what we can bring to him. God needs all that we are. God needs our ears, our eyes, our voice and our heart and soul for his work here on earth
We may not believe we have much to bring but our God needs what we have. We may not believe we are worthy, but our God needs who we are for the sharing of his good news of love. It may well be that the world is denied miracle after miracle and triumph after triumph because we will not bring to Christ what we have and what we are.

If, we were happy to put ourselves out in service and in the service of Jesus Christ, there is no saying what Christ could do with us and through us. Scary isn’t it. It makes me reflect on whether I have the trust in God to open myself to such a way of life. Yet, it is important for us to strive for this as we go on our journey in faith and love.

In the Franciscan tradition of the Third Order we have a part in our Principles that talks about humility and says: The faults that we see in others are the subject of prayer rather than of criticism. We take care to cast out the beam from our own eye before offering to remove the speck from another’s. We are to be ready to accept the lowest place when asked, and to volunteer to take it. Nevertheless, when asked to undertake work of which we feel unworthy, or incapable we do not shrink from it on the grounds of humility, but confidently attempt it through the power that is made perfect in weakness.

There is another that tells us that joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardships and persecution for Christ’s sake; for when we are weak, then we are strong. But I digress a bit.

Andrew bought people and in this case the lad to a point of decision and from that decision a miracle was able to take place. Are we ready to be involved? Are we ready to be God’s tools for love here on our earth? We may be sorry and embarrassed that we have little to bring and might think ourselves unworthy. Maybe that is rightly so, but that is no reason for failing or refusing to bring what we have and what we are to our God. Little is always much in the hands of Christ.

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