Psalm 66, 67 (Morning)
Psalm 19, 46 (Evening)
Our Gospel reading today speaks of the reports of miraculous events performed by the seventy disciples that were sent out two by two. Earlier in this chapter in Luke, you can see that they weren’t exactly sent out with detailed instructions on how to be disciples of Jesus. Somewhat explicit, yes; detailed…eh, not so much.
All the same, the disciples themselves were amazed at the miracles. Jesus’ response to that seems a little odd by our way of thinking: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
We’ve been brought up since at least kindergarten that the more we learn, the more we know and understand. The smarter we get, the more proof we demand, and the more discerning we become about what constitutes a miracle. We make the mistake of thinking if it can be disassembled, dissected, and parsed fully enough, all can be explained…and that “explanation” means “Not a miracle.” In fact, it’s the lynchpin of what non-believers use to dismiss miracles. I can’t say I blame them. I’ve been taking things apart and trying to figure “how they work” since I was two. There’s a satisfaction in that. Yet, at the same time, it dulls us to understanding miracles in a fuller way.
Now, that’s not to say that we should all remain ignorant and ground ourselves in magical thinking. That’s not productive nor desirable as good stewards. I think what Jesus is getting at in this passage has more to do with our powers of recognition. One of the definitions of miracles is, “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.”
In short, I think it’s about our ability to welcome the extraordinary within our ordinary lives. Think about how a baby or toddler sees something for the first time that absolutely delights him or her. There’s nothing more fun that seeing the joy on that little face and the sparkle in those little eyes as that baby sees something and understands its purpose for the first time. It’s about seeing and recognizing the improbable. It’s about being open to improbabilities and being able to drop everything to rejoice in them. It’s about learning to live our lives always looking for miracles with expectant hope and accepting them as they come, not as we would have them to be. It really doesn’t have anything to do with whether we can explain them or not. When we begin to start looking for miracles, it’s a little like the words of Lemony Snicket: “Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see.”
When was the last time you saw the extraordinary wrapped in the ordinary? What did you do with it when you found it?