Power, working in us… beyond imagination

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lass=MsoNormal style='margin-top:12.0pt;margin-right:0cm;margin-bottom: 12.0pt;margin-left:0cm;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none'>Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. Amen.This prayer that I have started out with, is known as a doxology

            It is the most common of all doxologies and has a Latin name for it Gloria Patri

                        It is modeled after the closing verse that we had today from Ephesians 3:21

From the new Anglican service book, a more comprehensive translation of that verse has been adopted - and it is a favorite for many people – including me

Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more that we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen

One of the reasons that this is important and a favorite: is because of the idea that Glory is to properly attributed to God - because God has the power to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine

            It captures a sense of awe

It captures a sense of appreciation for the incredible wonders of God – both in us, through us, and in the world

            It is a great big statement – a statement that is worthy of God

A reason for this might be because it doesn’t try to explain God or God’s handiwork – but rather marvels in it and praise God for it

As I have been thinking about the readings for today, I was first thinking about the two miracles that we hear about, in John’s Gospel – the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water

And as I was thinking about the miracles of our Gospel reading – it came to mind a young family that came to St. Luke’s in my first year serving there

            They were interested in having their three teenage kids go through confirmation classes

I was warned, however, that their youngest might be a bit difficult – because he really didn’t believe in God

            My first reaction was to think of this as a challenge

My second reaction however, was to think different – about how arrogant this 13 year old was to think that he knew better than his older siblings, parents and also the institution of the church

            But as I read scripture, I really shouldn’t be all that surprised

                        He is no different than so many that have gone before him

In fact no different than many of the people we hear about in the gospels


A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick (John 6:2)


Today, many of the people that have followed Jesus have done so because they needed to see for themselves the miracles – or they wanted healing miracles for themselves or loved ones                        believing comes in different forms and by different prompts for people

One thing we have to share is the expanse of scriptures which reveals many different ways in which people come to faith

            One of which is, of course, the testimony of 5000 hunger satisfied men

                        Or a dozen disciples

However Miracles…. is still kind-of an uncomfortable idea for our modernist or post-modernist, enlighten minds

We have science after all – we can split the atom - we are celebrating, this month, the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing

Miracles just don’t happen any more… right?

            They were for ancient people

People not as civilized as us - not as advanced as us

Now-a-days we could explain away all the miracles of 2000 years ago!

            And… I have heard some of those explanations

                        Like for the feeding of the 5000

When Andrew the disciple brought a little boy forward willing to offer all he had – people felt so guilty that they too revealed that they had packed a lunch

            Or Jesus wasn’t really walking on water – but knew just where to walk

                        It was a really sand-bar and the storm hid it from the disciples…

            But when you really think about either of these attempts to explain away the miracles

                        They sound a little silly

would the story have marveled ancient listeners and us today, if 5000 people feed themselves and because of their own guilt

Or would well-seasoned fishermen, not really know about a sand bar that ran all the way from one side to the middle of the lake

And why did the storm immediately cease when Jesus entered the boat?

Our desire to try and explain everything away and claim that science will eventually answer all life’s miracles - is actually a deep seated desire to control

            We try to explain because we are uncomfortable with something being out of our grasp

At its worst this reflect both a lack of faith and it is a distrust of God

More specifically, at its worst, it goes against the first and great commandment – to Love God (and therefore the miracles within only God’s grasp) with all your heart, mind, soul and strength


So instead of trying to explain or disprove the miracles of Jesus – let us try to see what it is teaching us about God

            May I suggest the follow things as some possible revelations:

                        First, that Jesus really is God – capable of things beyond what we can imagine

                        Second, that God cares about us physically as well as intellectually and spiritually

Food was provided – Jesus taught

Jesus proclaimed the good news in word and deed

            Jesus himself feeds the people

                        God wants to be part of lives – God wants us to learn about Him

And for the parents out there - Good manners matter to God – he made them take a seat first before feeding them J

                                    Another time he even washes their feet before eating J

                        Jesus wants us to put us to the test, as He did this with the disciple Philip

Wants to make sure we can see the fullness of what He’s going to do

                        He instructs them “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost. (John 6:12b)

                                    John is giving us a beautiful metaphor – in which we can hear God heart for all                              His people and all His creation

And then it is expanded on by: they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets(John 6:13)

God’s desire is for wholeness, represented by the 12 baskets – twelve is a key number, seen in the twelve tribes of Israel, or 12 disciples and many more

            Each time it is to tell a message of wholeness

God doesn’t want a fearful, distant people – God wants us to find security and comfort and protection in His presence and in his ways

When Jesus is walking on the water and scares the disciples, he states simply

“It is I; do not be afraid.” (John 6:20b)

There are many, many things that we could draw out – as John is a writer that fills his narrative with so much – but the point is not about what the miracle is but rather what the miracle is teaching us about God

When I was a boy, I remember my Dad sometimes suffering from some pretty bad back pain

I remember one Christmas in particular in which my Dad needed to spend much of the

Holiday-time sequestered to his bed

He tried many conventional methods, he went to the Dr., He was prescribed pain killers, and he spent a lot of time laid up in bed

He also tried unconventional methods, at least at the time it was unconventional – like the chiropractor and many, many others

He read lots about it – what else do you do 30 years ago, when you have only one TV in the house

I remember in particular one thing that he read which obviously really struck a cord with him, so much that he called me into his room and he read it out loud to me

I will paraphrase as best as my memory will allow

It was a story about how God assigned some engineers a special project

            It was their task to build a structure that would hold many times its own weight

Able to flex in multiple directions, like bending forward 180 degrees and backwards nearly as far – it needed to flex sideways – both sides

The structure was to house a conduit in the middle of it that was to have communication wiring, and even be supply source

From this structure other things would be connected - two that were equally as long, and two that were longer and one that sat on the top and was heavy and in which house the central processing engine

The engineers got to work – and after some considerable time they figured that they had a solution – they showed God their efforts with much excitement – only to be told that it needed to be pretty light weight, about 5 lbs

            In frustration they abandoned their one ton, 30 foot high structure

And then God shared with them that the task set before them was to assimilate the human spine

My Dad shared this story with me, I know, because he - like me, ever since is astounded by the awe-inspiring creation of  just one part of the human body, and this wonder, of course, spreads beyond to entire body and all it’s 2000 parts

            Each one of us is a miracle

                        All of God’s creation is a miracle

                                    The intricacy of creation, down to the smallest detail, is incredible

Our ordinary every day miracles, in which we so often take for granted are a testament to the power and dominion of God

Some might think as we become more aware of the world – as our scientific knowledge of the world is ever expanding – that the very scientists themselves might be people who don’t have a need for faith

            100 years ago approximately 40% of scientists were believers

                        Now the percentage is still approximately 40%

And many of those have become believers because of the sheer beauty of the created order, that is beyond all imagination

A good one to follow up with, if this is an interest to you, is Francis Collins – he was the director of the human genome project

            In which DNA was first mapped

                        And instead of this knowledge making him a sceptic

He wrote about how this brought him to a deeper faith and he has an excellent book (which you can borrow from me) called “the Language of God”


For me, although I believe in the miracles of the Bible

            I marvel at the miracles that are all around us, everyday, everywhere

It is in thinking of the miracles of creation that I was reminded of a song that plays at the end of Charlotte’s Web, the latest version, it is called “Ordinary miracle”

And it is sung beautifully by Burlington’s own Sarah McLachlin

                                    I would like to play it for you now…

There are many lines that capture the message well… here are a couple that caught my attention:

Life is like a gift they say - Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up and find a way - To give some of your own

Isn’t it remarkable? - Like every time a raindrop falls
It’s just another ordinary miracle today…

Its seems so exceptional - Things just work out after all
It’s just another ordinary miracle today

Thanks be to God for all the miraculous creation!

Let us pray – let us pray the prayer we have in the form of our second reading from Ephesians

/14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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