The images still haunt us. A healthy, young, 24-year-old athlete lay dead on the football field. Players who surrounded him were weeping. An ambulance drove across the grass as an athletic trainer performed CPR for nearly 10 minutes. An AED was used to shock the young man’s heart back into life. Oxygen was administered. When he was finally stabilized enough for transport, he was taken to the ICU of the nearest hospital, which happened to be only two miles away. Today, Damar Hamlin is recovering and making tremendous strides. He is breathing on his own and talking. Thanks be to God!
This morning I read a thread on Twitter from a hospital chaplain asking that people not label this as a “miracle.” His reasoning is that by labeling everyday medical procedures as miracles “we end up with people who deny its legitimacy.” A doctor retweeted it and gave a lengthy explanation of all the step-by-step medical science that was the reason for Hamlin’s recovery, calling each step a miracle. I have to say I’m with the doc on this one. The doctor saw what the chaplain couldn’t. God was with Hamlin every step of the way. Life after death is a miracle. I don’t care what avenues of medical science God uses … he is still the author of all life who performs miracles every day. Who’s with me on this?
Today’s lectionary passage is all about people seeing for themselves. Jesus invites us all to “come and see.”
John 1 (The Message)
29-31 The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”
32-34 John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”
Come, See for Yourself
35-36 The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”
37-38 The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”
I believe miracles are happening all around us every day. From the profound to the ordinary, God is present. Here is an example from the mundane: my husband and I drove 12 hours on I-95 through four states a few days ago and never once slowed down. If you’ve ever driven that route, you know that was a miracle!
They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.
40-42 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.
Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).
Finding the Messiah in the ordinary is miraculous. Receiving grace and compassion from a stranger is a miracle. God sending his son to forgive the sins of the world was the best miracle of all. You have the opportunity to come and see this Passover Lamb for yourself and then invite others.
Come and see!
The Power of Prayer photo by the New York Times via Facebook