News and Views

The word is... miracle

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...well said

Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.


By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg

A miracle, at first, appears to be a big event — a weeping statue, a sign in the stars, even a grilled cheese sandwich with the face of Jesus on it. A miracle is highly unlikely and “unnatural” in the plain course of events, folks will tell you. Something God alone can do. A miracle. A contact-the-media, no-other-explanation, miracle.

You’d think there’d be precious few miracles in this age where nearly everything has an explanation. But just between us, miracles don’t turn out to be rare events at all, at least not from where I’m sitting. Miracles often wear ordinary clothes unless they’re looked at with the eyes of faith, but once you put those faith spectacles on, miracles are everywhere.

A child born, anywhere, anytime, is a miracle (read Daryl Williams column opposite this one). A child adopted or fostered is a miracle. The therapist who makes room on a full docket of patients to take the boy with severe anxiety is a miracle. Angry voices that soften to forgiveness are miracles. Reconciliation is a miracle. The prodigal child welcomed home with an embrace is a miracle. A hungry person fed, anywhere, anytime, is a miracle. A miracle happens when World Series droughts end (something that’s going to happen either way, as I write this).

Miracles, like sunrises and sunsets, happen every day if you are paying attention to see them. In ministry, I’m up to my ears in miracles every day. I can hardly swing a stick around here without hitting a miracle. Just the other day, one of our church folk was shopping for our monthly meal at the shelter. She was buying a LOT of potato salad. The cashier said, “Wow...that’s...impressive.” Our shopper said it was for the shelter. The cashier gave the name of the place and said, “I used to live there. That shelter gave me a job and a lead on a house. They saved my life. It was a miracle.”

Ministry is all about being part of somebody’s miracle and calling it by its name.  Miracles are everywhere if we just have eyes to see them. Miracles are just names for places that God acts, and our God is a God that stays busy.

By Rev. Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill

“Do you believe in miracles?”

The year was 1980 and it was the voice of Al Michaels on the broadcast of the Winter Olympics as the United States hockey team defeated the seemingly unbeatable Soviet Union hockey team. Team USA had the youngest, most inexperienced team in the Olympics, and they were facing the juggernaut of the Soviet team who had won six of the last seven gold medals in hockey.  As they entered the game, nobody gave Team USA a chance to win. They were, at best, playing for second place, but as the final seconds ticked off, there it was: Team USA 4, Team USSR 3, and Michaels asking the world, “Do you believe in miracles?”

What is often missed in the euphoria of the moment is the next word that Michaels said. That word was “Yes!” After seeing that hockey game, Michaels was able to exclaim that he does believe in miracles.

I have always believed in miracles, but last week I got to see one for myself. It was not water to wine, or walking on water. It was not USA over USSR, and it was not the fact that the Chicago Cubs are playing Cleveland in the World Series (although I do think that counts as a miracle as well).

No, last week I stood in a small room at Holy Cross Hospital and watched my wife give birth to our first child. Nine months ago, we were a happy couple, and in the blink of an eye we became a merry trio. At 3:59 a.m., we were Erin and Daryl. At 4:01 a.m., we were Mom and Dad.

There is no way to explain what I witnessed; there is no logic to what happened and I am absolutely flabbergasted that this little human being is now my wife’s and my responsibility.

All I can say is it was a miracle.

I have only been a father for a week now, but the one thing I do know is, like Michaels, I believe in miracles. I believe that the odds are never too long, the situation never too bleak, and things are never too bad for God to step in and do the unbelievable and the miraculous.

So one day I am going to sit my son Ryan down and show him all the miracles in the Book of John. I am going to show him the YouTube video of the end of the 1980 gold medal hockey game, and when he asks me if I believe in miracles I am going to tell him, “Son, of course I do, I’m looking at and talking to a miracle right now. You don’t know it yet, but you believe in miracles too.”



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