Reflection on Mark 7:32-37, Thomas Gallaudet with Henry Winter Syle
In today’s gospel lesson Mark, 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 are only occasionally 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 order of the universe. Its creation and preservation awed Einstein to the inevitability of God.
Follow this up with a closer examination of our own tiny patch of the universe. While progress is never linear, the Body of Christ continues to lurch forward in search of closer communion with God and each other. And while it has not been completely eradicated, the ultimate sacrilege, in Chesterton’s words, of “Christian killeth Christian” is now virtually extinct. Tell that to the 16th through 20th Century man on the street and he’ll tell you it’s nothing less than a miracle that we live in harmony with people of different faiths and no faith at all. As C.S. Lewis noted that particular miracle did not come cheap: “Miracles and martyrdoms tend to bunch about the same areas of history.”
Tell our everyman of old that today over a billion people accept Jesus Christ as their risen Savior, and you begin to appreciate the role miracles play in so many lives. 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 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. In Christ each one of us is invited to live a lifetime of such wonders …Another Day, Another Miracle.
Committed to a vocation that focuses on encountering God in the midst of everyday life, the Rev. David Sellery serves as an Episcopal priest that seeks to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in worship, pastoral care, education, stewardship, and congregational growth.