On Wednesday, Ian led us into Advent so nicely. And, continuing on that theme, in today's post I want to mix a little of advent and SUM together.
What I want to do this month is look back on some miracles from our community, and perhaps some other miracles too.
I want to do that because the nativity story is a story of miracles. Crazy things went down that year. The characters involved must have thought 'What on earth is going on?'
A feeling of holy awe would settle on the people involved, and they were bowled over in wonder.
Sometimes in this SUM ministry we've had moments of holy awe too; that is, moments where we've sat back wide-eyed because God's hand has been on something. In fact, the journey this whole the SUM community has been on over the last sixteen years is a story I want to curate.
Yet, as Ian said on Wednesday, us SUMites also have long and difficult periods of longing. There are things that happen that are glorious and things that happen that are bittersweet for us.
Bittersweet often can be part of a glorious move of God. For example, when Jesus was a baby, a man called Simeon prophesied to Mary "A sword will pierce through your own soul."
Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:34-35)
There is often a rawness behind any given miracle, and here at SUM we see that. We go through raw things that pierce our soul... Yet in those very things lie seeds. There's always a feeling that 'What will God do next?'
Zacharias was told by the angel Gabriel that his barren wife, Elizabeth would bear a son. He said "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." And so the angel told him he would be mute until the time that these things would be fulfilled (Luke 1:18-20). Zacharias's family and friends later talked to him using signs, so it seems he was deaf and unable to speak. Can you imagine the trauma of that?
Yet, the minute Zacharias declares that his miraculously born son is to be called John (the baptist), immediately his mouth is opened and his tongue loosed. And at that point, scripture says:
"Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying "what kind of child will this be?" And the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1:65-66, NKJV)
Holy awe. I can just imagine that feeling of awe descending, everyone looking at each other wide-eyed and acknowledging, 'This was a moment; and God was there.'
Have you ever seen something you would describe as a miracle?
Love you all
(p.s. I am travelling this coming week, so may take a few days to reply to comments!)