The following are excerpts from Rev. Sharon Wylie’s sermon “Miracles Abound” offered on November 28, 2021. You can watch the full sermon on Chalice’s YouTube channel.
This is our lives now: living and coping with the ongoing stresses of a pandemic without definitive end.
And because this is our lives now, we have to be as intentional and proactive as we have ever been at seeking out experiences that help us keep our spirits up. We need laughter, we need joy, we need reminders of all that is good.
And great news, that’s what the December holidays are all about. This time of year, when the days grow shorter and shorter, and the diminished sunlight contributes to depression and keeps us from spending time outdoors…here come Hanukkah and Winter Solstice and Christmas, full of good food and time with friends, lit candles and inspiring stories, meant to help raise our spirits and cheer us up….
For most of us, we probably use the word “miracle” from time to time. In looking through Facebook posts, I read people in this congregation using the word miracle to describe: taking a walk after hip surgery, 30 days of sobriety, an assisted living facility where no one has gotten COVID, and all of life. We use “miracle” to describe a happening that fills us with so much wonder—wonder-ful—that the happening seems to be inexplicable.
Things that didn’t seem possible: taking a walk after hip surgery, 30 days of sobriety, an assisted living facility where no one has gotten COVID, and all of life itself.
Of course science can explain each of those things. They are not impossible—they happened! They aren’t even that extraordinary, on the face of it. What the word “miracle” is telling us, is something about the person who witnessed the happening.
Taking a walk after hip surgery won’t make the nightly news, but to the person doing the walking and to their loved ones…they feared that day would never come.
Sobriety has been achieved by millions of people, but 30 days sober feels impossible to the person who is on day one. And feels impossible to the loved ones who are worried about them. 30 days—a miracle!
After all the death we have seen, all the stories we have heard, even now, an assisted living facility where no one has gotten COVID—definitely a miracle!
Somewhere between the assertion that nothing is a miracle and everything is a miracle is how most of us, I think, witness what we would call miracles—from time to time. Yes, on a good day, at a beautiful location, we might be swept away into appreciating that everything can seem miraculous at times. But not everything is wonder-ful, nor is everything inexplicable.
I contend that miracles are special, unusual, to be surprised by and savored. But this is also why I’m encouraging us all to be on the lookout, because there may be more in the world to be surprised by then we’ll ever see with our heads down.
Blessings and love to you,