August 02, 2020
Does God really work miracles? What does it have to look like to be a miracle? Are miracles happening all around us, but we just do not recognize them? The answer is yes. I would like to tell you a true story that might help.
Lee Strobel tells the story of Barbara Snyder was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic with multiple sclerosis. Many trips to the hospital and over the years was losing control of all her muscles. She was to the point that she had a tracheotomy tube in her throat in order to breath and a tube in her stomach because she could no longer swallow. She was almost blind. Telling the story, Lee Strobel said, "One day, one of her friends called WMBI, which is the radio station in Chicago run by the Moody Bible Institute, and said, 'Pray for Barbara. She's on her deathbed." Four hundred fifty Christians mailed letters to the radio station for Barbara.
Then, on Pentecost Sunday, two of her friends were reading the letters to her. The letters told her that they were praying for her, offering love and support. While they were reading, Barbara said "This male voice coming from the corner of the room where nobody was said, 'Get up my child and walk," "So she basically pulls the tube out of her throat, says, 'Go find my parents' [and] jumps out of bed." Her muscles were suddenly strong and she regained her vision. She was healed at once of her symptoms. Her doctors attest to this healing. That happened in 1981 and she is healthy to this day.
In our Gospel this weekend Jesus feeds more than 5,000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. The disciples knew they did not have enough food to feed the hungry crowd. They couldn't get the job done by themselves. Jesus blesses the food and tells the disciples to distribute it to the people. The disciples had to be thinking, "distribute this small amount of food to all these people?" But they took what they had and did what Jesus told them. They could see with their eyes this small amount of food in front of them. But then they watched as more than 5,000 people were fed - and there were leftovers! The disciples had done the work as Jesus asked, even though they did not think that it would be enough. Many in the crowd were probably inspired by them to share what food they had, which in itself is a miracle. But it was still not likely that this alone would provide the volume of food needed. Feeding this many people with 5 loaves and 2 fish was, indeed, a miracle!
Sometimes miracles are less dramatic. And maybe we don't recognize them. I believe that God has worked a miracle here at St. Andrew. It wasn't long ago that we needed $350,000 to replace our roofs, windows, and repair the brick. We all worked hard to get the work done but it would never be enough. All the while we prayed and almost all at once the work was completed! Something happened here that was greater than all of our efforts. Something brought on by our prayers. And that something was God's miracle. We had all prayed from these pews, from our homes, and even from hospital beds. We all worked hard, but it was only through God's miracle that it all got done.
As we look out into our world today and see the Covid-19 pandemic and so much fear and disagreement among people, it is easy to become discouraged. That is why it is good that we are talking today about miracles God worked 2000 years ago near the Sea of Galilee. It is good that we are talking about miracles happening today. Because these miracles provide us with hope. It is time to turn to God once again in prayer. Then, may we, as we have done here in the past, do every bit of work that we can to ease the hardships caused by the pandemic. Maybe your task will be to find someone who is deeply saddened and fearful and lift them up with a true story of where you have seen God work a miracle in your life. We will do this work knowing that our own efforts will not be enough. Then, let us watch once again as God's miracle unfolds with a cure, a vaccine, and peace in our hearts. Amen
Just a note, be sure to reserve your BBQ chicken Dinner! Carrubba's makes incredibly good dinners and we are hoping to sell out. People all around Western New York love their meals and will be joining us so reserve your dinners soon! I can almost smell the chickens cooking now!