9th Sunday after Pentecost, July 25, 2021. 2 Kings 4:42-44, John 6:1-21 The Reverend Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas
Moses and Jesus were hanging out in heaven feeling bored with what seemed an eternity of nothing to do since everyone was so perfect. Moses says, “Jesus…” And Jesus says, “I wish you’d stop taking my name in vain.” Moses says, “No, I’m talking to you. You know what we haven’t done in a while? Let’s go down to Earth and perform some miracles.” Jesus thought that was a great idea, so they hopped a cloud and floated down to a city by the sea.
“What would like to perform?” Moses asks. “I think I’ll walk on water,” Jesus replied. “The last time I did it, the disciples went wild.”
He walked to the shore surrounded by hundreds of people, stepped onto the water and promptly sank. Confused, he dragged himself out of the water, tried again, and sank a second time. Finally, he turns to Moses and says, “I can’t figure it out. The last time I did this, it worked like a charm.” Moses said, “Yeah, but the last time you didn’t have holes in your feet.”
Now, the reason I share this story with you is that when the miracle workers of the Bible are gone, we are like this Jesus struggling to stay afloat with holes in our feet.
The Bible is full if miracle stories in an effort to prove that God’s chosen ones, be they prophets like Elisha who miraculously fed a hundred people or the Christ who miraculously fed thousands and walked on water, were truly from God.
Still, the Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, reminds me that it is not the feat itself, but the motive behind it that confirms our kinship with God. “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing,” he says (1st Corinthians 13:2).
Miracles should not be spectacles that set you apart from the rest, for then they diminish the potential of others to do the same while increasing their dependence on you. Miracles ultimately are attempts to prove that if one by faith can do much, many by faith can move mountains, for with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).
My middle child Ethan, like me, lives with a mild case of dyslexia requiring more effort and attention to reading and comprehending information. But while in college, instead of hiding it and treating is like a disability, he decided to acknowledge it as a different ability that required a different learning environment less pressured by prescribed time constraints. When he hid it, his grades suffered. By acknowledging it, provisions were made for him to take exams on his own in less intimidating circumstances. He graduated summa cum laude.
As people of God, the miracles to which we are prescribed are those that create an environment where all are fed, nourished, and enabled to pursue their greatest potential.
As followers of Christ, we are crucified, buried and resurrected with Christ, bearing the marks of his passion, including the holes in his hands and feet. But they are not disabilities diminishing our miraculous potential, but reminders of our kinship, faith, and reliance on one greater than ourselves to move mountains. For nothing is impossible with God. Amen.