my sermon

When did you last see a genuine miracle? Was it big or small?

Websters Definition of MIRACLE is;

1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs

2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

3. Christian Science: a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfilment of spiritual law

As I sat down to write this sermon. I was hopping to shed some light on Miracles, or mysteries or unexplained occurrences, but it become more of a time of story telling. Many of you had or has a story of what some would call miracles. As a woman who believes that something bigger then myself works though me when writing, I was and am okay with it with the change.

C.S. Lewis said Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.

One of my secret pleasures is the magazine guideposts. Norman Vincent Peale, he called miracles “His mysterious ways” this is what he says about the phenomenon:

There is evidence of God’s love all around us, we just need to recognize it. A stranger’s all-too-perfectly timed random act of kindness. A deceased loved one who appears to you in a dream just when you need her most. A delayed flight that leads to an unexpected family reunion. These events are more than mere coincidences. They are proof that God’s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy are indeed revealed in Mysterious Ways.

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. For example , think about how we feel right at the end of Jan begining of Feb. and we have all had it up to here with rain and cold, and snow, but is not enough snow for a snow day. When we have not seen the sun for 40 days.

Then we see the crocus. And after that the, tulips and daffodils ( sometimes on the side of the freeway!) pop up to remind us that sometime ,the spring will NOT come. It will still be cold and wet and muddy but at least we have the spring flower. Right?

I sent the word out though AMC tidings asking for stories about personal miracles. There are those among us who have experienced miracles and I will share them now. I am with holding some names when asked to:

from Anna who heads our Ecumenical Ministry:

Sheltering our Neighbors: you can use our S.O.N family’s Christmas last year. They had medical trauma, bills, lost job, lost home… nothing. no idea how to survive much less provide Christmas for their kids. Out of nowhere a church secretly donated a tree, decoration, toys, household supplies, toothpaste, blankets, Crockpot etc and it was a miracle to them.

What they needed, appeared.

We were their miracle.

They were the miracle for us.

We were the hands of god.

Here is another from a long time member:

Many years ago, my beloved bought a ring with the image of her guru on it. She cherished it. But although she always put her rings in the same place on top of the dresser, the next morning, none of her three rings were there. Later year, I was in a pawn shop not far from our home where this incident happened (we moved to a different house 17 years ago). I looked in the ring case, and there was her guru ring!! Stunned would be too mild a word. This is an unusual, unlikely ring for anyone else to have in Portland, she bought it in India in a small community outside the ashram walls. I took it home and returned it to it’s rightful owner. my beloveds reaction was priceless. We were both humbled, grateful and deeply moved by this miracle.

Another friend shares:

Some years ago my daughter was critically ill with blood poisoning. she was in the hospital where the doctors tried one antibiotic after another on her, all of which resulted in an allergic reaction that covered her from head to foot in an excruciating rash. her temperature was dangerously high and i was beside myself with fear. one night when my fear felt intolerable, i literally fell to my knees and prayed. i even sent a telegram to my spiritual teacher in India asking for help. and the next morning – yes! her fever broke and she began a recovery process that eventually restored her to health.

Betsy’s Shells

In 2006 I took some of Betsy’s ashes to Sayulita to spread around in places I know she loved. I scattered some around the house we built together there (Casa Solana) and some at two or her favorite beaches; Playa Los Muertos and Playa Caracitos. Betsy especially loved Caracitos and she spent many hours there hunting for shells. Her favorite were the pretty and shiny little cowries and if she found one in a day, she was happy. They are not rare, but on a surf beaten beach like Caracitos, they are not often found whole.

My last stop of the day was Caracitos and I went up to the far north end of the beach where there are some large rock . I scattered some ashes on the rocks and in the surf near them. When I ran out of ashes, I went and sat down on the sand. There was a medium sized rock at my back for me to lean against. Betsy and I had often sat here and looked out at the powerful waves crashing on the rock outcroppings. A few moments after I sat down, I looked to my right and I saw three beautiful cowries grouped together in the sand. I picked them up and arranged them according to size. The largest one was almost totally white. The middle sized one was the darkest and the smallest the most colorful. In looking at them I imagined they represented our little family; me, Betsy and Erin. It occurred to me that the middle one was darker because Betsy’s life light had gone out, but she was still with us in our hearts. Pretty incredible, I thought.

Two years later, I was again on Playa Caracitos walking toward that same group of rocks. I was not looking for shells, but as I approached the rocks I happened to look down and there in front of me were three more pretty little cowries in the sand grouped together. The second set is very similar (some would say almost identical) to the first. I like to think of them as a message from Betsy that she is still with us and her spirit joyfully and happily resting at Playa Caracitos.

I could not stand up here and talk about miracles if i did not share about babies. The very act of conception. Is a miracle. Everything has to be perfect the timing. The correct temperature. The prefect egg and the right sperm. Then, the zigote has the find the right spot in the womb. And stay there. At AMC we really have miracle babies. Some babies had to get some help to join us. Some grew not in their mothers wombs but in their hearts. Some were an unexspected serprizes. To the young mother and well as the not so young mother. One of the things i love so much about our faith, is the believe that every child is a holy child.

Then they turn two.

The stories I have shared with you today are what one might say “the big ones” I do not know if we all get a big one. but I want to talk about the little ones, we all do get those. We can manifest miracles in every day life. like grace. Which may come in the way another parent smiles at you knowingly, while your child thrashes on the floor at Freddie’s because you will not buy them candy. That is a grace that we all have in us, and all it takes is stopping and looking her in the eye and with out judgment smiling at her. The miracle of connectedness.

Maybe it is a soft, gentle, “breath momma” when it looks like she is on the edge. How so many times that miracle has changed the very trajectory of my day.

It is the crone woman, who looks over at the giggly moms in church and smiles. Remembering that there was a time for herself when church was the one time that she was with friends and the children were somewhere else.

Adult children forgiving their abusive parents, and finding that the forgiveness make them better parents to their own children. And in the sharing that they had forgiven that parent gives courage and strength to others who may not be ready but might be sooner.

The miracle of having the extra dollar that you can share with the homeless person on the side of the road., maybe you are the first person to look them in the eye and tell them. “I hope things get better.” You are their miracle

Having an empty fridge and pantry, you are days away from payday. And after asking the gas attendant to just put in 5 dollars in the take. And he does not hear it right, so he fills up your tank and you get the difference in cash. Boom!

We have miracles every Sunday when we share the joys and sorrows that touch our lives. bringing us into deep community.

It is the older couple who pays for a family’s meal at Sheri’s, remembering the times when momma could just not face the kitchen.

It is the parent who does not wake the other parent on a Sunday morning taking the family to church. so he or she wakes to silence and hot coffee .

It comes in the way of a mother letting her 14 year old get on a plane and fly away from her to spend a week with family she does not like but she knows that her children need to have relationship with the grandparents.

Losing a job, and getting a new better one in another state. At the 2ed church you go to. You find home. And the perfect school for your children.

Finding courage to walk away from relationships that are toxic. This includes family and even harder I think friends.

It came in the way of reading the perfect bumper sticker that has a message you need to know right then. Right there.

God is to big to fit into any one religion

Hang up and drive

love one another.

I knit, so no one has to die

The thing about a miracle, is that, it is something you need to accept, it is a gift. Maybe it is from a supernatural higher power, God the Goddess or what ever you chose to call the divine one. May be it is a completely human action, not supernatural event involved. I think that just one of the things that makes the miracles miracles, in the act of providing one.

But also it is the act of accepting them. It is saying YES. I accept this and thank you.

Then, you pay it forward.

That is the true miracle.

What makes miracles so wonderful is in the sharing of them, or what ever you choose to call them; Divine intervention, provenience, or even just something strange happened and I just do not know what to call it. Then share your story, while you are at it…share the Gospel the GOOD NEWS of Unitarian Universalism. It is a faith traditions that for many of us is the biggest miracle of all. Open and affirming. A place for healing from being told that the only miracles are from god like raising from the dead and healing the sick. Where the miracle is learning that we are all worthy of salvation. No matter what, no matter who we love, no matter if we believe in God or any deity for that matter. A place to learn and grow and even change our mind. . A safe place to question and dialogue about all things human and divine.

You are the miracle. Be the miracle.

amen, ashe’ and may it be so.


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