Looking around the large darkened room filled with beautiful representations of the suffering of our Savior, I knew I had come to the right place to expect a miracle. The scenes of the parable-like ritual began to play out in front of me, heightening my desire for the Eternal. Then all the attention seemed to focus on the long-robed leader as he moved towards a gilded and ornate box to the left of the stage area.
There were kneelings and words that I did not understand so I sensed this could be the moment for the miracle as the robed arm reached into the gilded box. A holy hush settled on to the congregation as the leader turned with what appeared to be a golden, artistically designed mirror-like object. He lifted up the object several times as timed bells rang to announce each raise of the object. Then the leader turned back to the box and placed the mirror like object back in.
My Father was looking at my curious expression and decided to help me through this moment ... Dad said "there is a once a week Jesus that is given to us in the communion time, what you saw was the Jesus that is taken out on special occasions for us to see and then is kept in that box the rest of the year. Wow ... Jesus is kept locked away in a box, so unfair.
Now please don't be too harsh on me for a fogged childhood religious memory, but this one thing I am sure of today: the problem with our faith to see miracles is the package in which we box our God, and the restrictions that we design to limit His working.... (instead of magnifying His glory, majesty, honor, and power that no man can begin to understand). That being said please read on.
There are too many pious parrots in the roost protecting us from miracles -- "Polly wants a cracker" - "Just an ordinary cracker, nothing special" - "And no more, no less should be expected!" -- That first phrase used to be heard from the bird cage, but with the Internet on the rise, social media swooning the masses, and Google granting every request for knowledge - we hear rumors of miracles everyday; but there still are those who would love to see a miracle of Manna from Heaven, but not at the risk of sounding weak and needy. So the additional phrases, after the cracker request, needed to be added for the preservation of self sufficiency.
And So the New Breed of Parrot's will pout and tout that there is no hope for anything other than the cracker, so be grateful for the ordinary variety of cage style crackers, "because there ain't no manna today!" And FOR SURE -- "we don't want to presume ourselves upon GOD!" What has happened to these birds?
Maybe these parrots have written off the most conspicuous attribute of our God because of the failure on our part as humans to change; especially if it would be the only attribute that we believe. And with that attribute in remission, like some sort of fading cancer-like flaw, we can move on to the more reliable attributes of God like His anger, His judgement, His severity, His Sovereignty, His holiness, His separation, ... (I am having a tough time with this for it is hard to imagine God without this attribute)... For the one characteristic of our God that holds us "still", to know that He is God...
Is His Love.
Without Love, His anger has no mercy,
Without Love, His judgement has no propitiation,
Without Love, His severity has no hope of turning from an eternal fiery end,
Without Love, His Sovereignty would never consider us because it doesn't need us,
Without Love, His holiness would not cover us,
Without Love, His Separation would be from us.
With His Love, God gave His only begotten Son for even the adornment of this fallen world... That who-so-ever believes in Him -- should not perish in full abandonment from His presence, but shall have everlasting, ever regenerative , ever unfolding, ever new, eternal life in His Love... we therefore can truly live.
But Love without God ... Is not redemptive Love at all ... At its best, with lust barely contained, it is but a shallow self-serving show of concern, a self fulfilling and collective desire for approval and companionship, and a fragmented shell of feelings endowed by Our Creator within the fallen heart of unredeemed man... At the beginning of this fallen love it is romantically, magically, wonderfully new ... Until it is tried, tested, tired and empty.
God has not abandoned anyone in the darkness without the light of His Love (that is why we all have experienced the "magic of the feelings"), but it seriously does matter what we do with that light ... Box it, contain it and Squander it on a self fulfilling lifestyle, and so we begin loathing the light of His love, and making our way in a direction opposite of the redemption of His Love.
No apologies for this next statement - We need to believe that God does truly care for us with provisions from the miraculous that are granted liberally to be experienced in our moments of need. Don't settle for the box, keep your "childlike wonder" fully unbridled, fully engaged; and let Jesus love you openly with His extravagant - miraculous love.
"Little Children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen". 1 John 5:21
PS - Are we really naïve, or in denial of reality when we believe that God will do the impossible? Stop boxing up that faith, face the truth of a tragic situation, announce its reality, BUT with full trust in God's miraculous outcome.