Before we get rolling today, I want to make something very clear. I don't like hyperbole, especially when it comes to faith and church. It can be dishonest, damaging, and frankly at least just a little bit icky. I post a lot on Facebook about Heathen Church and Grace UMC, but I'm always very mindful not to make more or less of what is going on down there. I also have made it a practice not to share everything that happens; there are some things that are just too sacred for social media (more on this later; it's already written).
Yesterday I invoked a word that I am very protective of (more on that some other time; which is not written lol) and a word that by its very nature can reek of hyperbole; that word is "miracle". We have this crazy tendency to dismiss or to overlook the miraculous that happens right under our nose. We go looking for the seas to be parted, for columns of smoke and fire, of multitudes fed with an impossibly miniscule amount, and the dead being raised. The flip side is that we also have a tendency to attribute the word to all manner of things that are hardly miraculous.
With this in mind, let me ask you to consider a few points. Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt unloved, unwanted, and entirely isolated? Have you ever prayed for a relationship to be restored that you thought irrevocably broken? Have you ever dared to hope when there was absolutely no good reason for it to exist? Have you been without? Have you and or your children ever sat in the dark? Without heat? Or water?
Now let me ask to consider some other scenarios...
A little church left for dead in a bad neighborhood has served over 5000 meals to underprivileged children and hungry adults in a little over a year.
A man generally viewed as a "worthless parasite" (how I've heard him described) did not die alone and unknown on a 100 degree afternoon in a city park from suicide because someone dared to love him and found him valuable enough to abandon a church service for.
Children find abundant food, love, patience, and yes, candy. (My office features a wall of candy lol)
Jobs are found for the desperate and hopeless.
Utilities are restored for families in dire need.
Children, youth, and adults are changing their lives and being transformed in an environment where these things frankly shouldn't happen. It's too counter-cultural.
Within mere minutes of posting to Facebook that a family was in dire need, my phone exploded with pledges of financial support and clothes from all over the country.
Lives, families, and a community are being redeemed, reconciled, and restored.
Love, mercy, and grace are beginning to reign where they shouldn't.
Miraculous? In the truest sense of the word; no. All of these things are easily explained. To those on the receiving end of such things? Different story altogether. Come and see.