This week we are reflecting on miracles.
In the story of Jesus healing a blind man in John 9:1-41 Jesus uses a pretty strange method:
He spits in the dirt, makes mud, rubs it on the blind man’s eyes… then tells him to go and wash. Upon washing, the blind man regained his sight.
Somehow… spitting in the dirt and making mud just doesn’t seem like the language of miracles. But, what IS the language of miracles? Are e thinking bright lights, choir music sung by angels, flowers and doves and a booming voice from the clouds? OK… that’s just a little stereotypical :). But really, we may have such a lofty ideal for miracles… that we discount amazing things that happen in our lives and the world every day because we think they are just to messy and muddy to be miraculous.
Thinking of being blind and regaining sight, my mind turns to the super-famous Hymn: Amazing Grace. Maybe you know the words:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.
If you want to experience the tune… check it out: Amazing Grace
Or, if you want a slightly more interpretive version (my favorite): Grace Like Rain
If you didn’t click and listen… do it sometime this week, it’s worth it!
Anyway, the author of this hymn was a man named John Newton and published in 1779. John Newton was a slave-trading sailor who in 1748, after his ship was caught in a brutal storm, was ‘converted’ to faith in God. He eventually became a religious leader and champion of the faith… but it wasn’t until 1754, after suffering a stroke, that he actually gave up the deplorable career of sailing slave ships.
Was it a miracle that he was turned to the faith? Sure! Was it pretty, immediate, stereotypical? No!
It was messy. I think our lives are like that: filled with Amazing Grace… but too muddy and messy for us to take it seriously. Maybe we should start?