Recently I witnessed a miracle at Haywood Street Congregation! Of course, that may only be a news flash to those who have not had the privilege of worshipping in this holy place. A miracle, as defined by Webster is, “An event not from human power or the laws of nature but from a supernatural, divine source.” Most of us are familiar with the many miracles that fill the pages of scripture: the water being turned into wine, the leper being healed, and of course, the parting of the Red Sea. We did not see these miracles with our own eyes, but we believe they happened, because God’s Word records these supernatural events so that we may see God working through history on behalf of his people.
Here then is my eyewitness account of one of the miracles that I have seen at Haywood Street Congregation:
Often my friend Cindy and I are two of the first people to arrive in the sanctuary for the Wednesday worship service. On this particular Wednesday, I was alone and the first to arrive. I love sitting quietly in that holy place before others begin to enter. Everything in my mind slows down and a sense of peace and well being envelops me. In the silence I encounter God and his presence with me. The quiet usually gives way to the escalating sounds of others entering for worship, as they exchange greetings.
But on this day, before others entered, I heard a commotion coming from the back of the sanctuary. A man’s voice exploding in anger and agitation. He began shouting, “why do people have to talk to me? I just want to be left alone! Why is everyone bothering me?” Pacing up and down the outside aisle he continued to rant as others began to gather. “Please, please go away,” he shouted to no one in particular. His words spewed into that holy air and hung like clouds covering the earth. Others gave him a wide berth.
I had seen his face as he paced back and forth but I never turned to engage him. I was afraid that I would escalate the level of agitation he was already experiencing. I wanted to help him but I was unsure what to do. Only one answer came to mind — pray for him! And so I did, off and on through Brian’s homily. I did not hear the angry man during the service so I didn’t know if he was still there or if he had left the church.
At communion time Brian called four people to come forward to help serve and — wait for it — Brian asked the angry man to come to serve The Bread of Life! (How does Brian know who to call to serve? I have seen this play out over and over again. The Holy Spirit must whisper a name in his ear, for it never seems to fail that those who are in the most need to be ministered to are the people that are asked to minister to others. I love this!) Sometimes we are the missionaries and sometimes we are the mission field — most of the time we are both at once!
The angry man came forward, his head hanging down, making no eye contact with anyone. He stood holding the bread and looking at the floor. I was probably the 8th or 10th person in line to receive the sacraments. Before I arrived in front of him, I kept having the thought that I should touch him as I received his offering. Oh my. TOUCH him? Are you sure Lord? He doesn’t like people to TALK to him, much less touch him! You really want ME to touch him Lord? Are you sure Lord? (I believe, help my unbelief). So — standing before him, I took the bread, hesitated, and then looked him in the eyes as I touched his forearm. He looked at me with tears in his eyes. I was surprised. I should not have been. (Oh me of little faith).
I moved on. As he continued to serve, I noticed that HE was touching people when he shared his precious gift. He continued in the most gentle and loving way to interact with each person in front of him. THAT I believe was a miracle, a divine intervention from God. A supernatural gift of Grace and peace to this child of the Father. He went from anger and isolation to servant ministry in a matter of a few moments. As our son would say, “It was a God thing”!
Experience tells us that God often chooses to come to us in the ordinary moments of life. When the sacred and holy meet the ordinary, miraculous things happen!
As I think about all of the miracles we have witnessed or read about, or been told, I have come to the realization that perhaps the greatest miracle of all, is that God loves each of us, just as we are, and he claims us as his children! He loves us just as much when we fail to follow him as when we are praising and rejoicing in his goodness — how can that be? Because God IS love. He loves us because that is WHO HE IS!!!
This is the Good News of the gospel. We have been given this love to share it with others, so that we can give it away in his name, so that each of us will feel his touch. That, my friend, is a miracle too!
Lord, may we see the holy and the sacred in others.
May we worship You by loving what You love,
Your people and Your creation,
May we never cease looking for You in the ordinary moments of life —
For we ARE Your beloved, walking miracles!