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Miracles

The miraculous has gained some degree of popularity in recent years. Television producers sensing this have turned out a number of programs which deal either directly or indirectly with miracles and the supernatural. There is even a show about “Miracle Pets.”

In the four Gospels there are accounts of thirty-three definite miracles performed by Christ. Who knows how many others which were never recorded. In the book of Acts we read about eighteen miracles performed by the apostles.

Are these accounts believable? Did miracles really happen and are they still possible today?

The primary objection to miracles is that a miracle is contrary to the laws of nature, which cannot be broken. The root of this objection has little to do with science. At issue is one’s view of God and His relationship to the natural order. It is a matter of philosophical presuppositions as C. S. Lewis points out in his book Miracles.

Those who deny the miraculous usually believe in what is called the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system. That is, natural laws are sovereign and cannot be altered. This is of course an assumption which cannot be proven.

The Westminster Confession opposes this position when it states, “God, in ordinary providence making use of means, yet is free to work without, above, or against them at pleasure.” Charles Hodge echoed this viewpoint when he wrote, “The laws of nature are uniform only because He so wills, and their uniformity continues only so long as He wills.” The question simply is, who is in control, nature or the God who created nature?

There are two principles upon which the Christian position is founded. The first is God’s sovereignty. The laws of nature are the laws of God who created the natural order. Therefore, He may alter those laws to suit His purposes. What we call natural law is just God’s ordinary way of doing things, which does not preclude the extraordinary. Secondly, God is a personal being who deals with us in a personal way. He is willing to change natural law temporarily to reveal Himself to us.

Some of the character and purpose of miracles may be seen by looking at the words used in the New Testament. The most common word for miracles is the Greek word dynamis. This word means power and we have derived our English words dynamite and dynamic from it. A miracle shows us the mighty power of our God. It reveals who is in control.

St. John commonly used the word samion in his gospel. This word literally means a sign. A miracle is more than a display of power. It is a sign pointing to something beyond itself. A miracle is an object lesson designed to teach some spiritual truth. For example the feeding of the 5,000 becomes a sign that Jesus is the Bread of Life. (St. John 6:1-40)

Do miracles happen today? Yes, I believe so. The primary purpose of a miracle is to point us to God. A miracle is not an end in itself. A real miracle reveals God to us. A miracle points us to Christ. The purpose is spiritual.

Martin Luther wrote, “Conversion is the greatest of all miracles.” He went on to say, “... that the truth is maintained in this wicked world is a continual miracle to which the healing of the sick or the raising of the dead is a mere trifle.” Jonathan Edwards went so far as to write, “I am bold to say, that the work of God in the conversion of one soul ... is a more glorious work of God than the creation of the whole material universe.”

Do miracles still happen? Yes, thank God they do!

by Rev. F. M. Levi

Parish News
The ladies of the Woman’s Guild held a bake sale during coffee hour on March 11, 2001. They were raising money for missions and other worthy causes.

The Annual Parish Meeting was held on Sunday, March 18, 2001. Elections were held and reports from officers and committies were read and discussed. The meeting was preceeded by a luncheon provided by the Vestry.

In Memory
The Rt. Rev. William H. S. Jerdan, Jr. (85) went to be with the Lord on March 29, 2001. Bishop Jerdan was a former Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Our prayers are with Mrs. Jerdan and the entire family. In memory of Bishop Jerdan donations may be sent to Global Outreach Mission, Box 2010, Buffalo, NY. 14231-2010. Designate the donation: “In memory of Bishop Jerdan for Jerdans in France.”

Missionary of The Month
Rev. & Mrs. Gerhard Meyer (Grace), Germany.
Rev. Gerhard recently began teaching a home Bible study when the leader moved. Grace keeps busy with adm/bookkeeping duties. In the fall she started a woman’s Bible study.

Domestic Missions
Pray for the Rev. & Mrs. Gary McGinnis (Debbie), and their children Benjamin, Seth, Samuel, Caleb, and Jacob. Christ Reformed Episcopal Mission in Bothell, Washington.

Happy Birthday!
May 17 - Walter Sellers
May 25 - Jeffrey Stultz

Mother/Daughter Salad Supper
Friday, May 18, 2001, 6:30 p.m.

On Ascension Day
by Marion Schoeberlein

The clouds caressed Him on that day
When over the hills and far away
Christ went to heaven to prepare
A home for Christians everywhere,

He left disciples, lonely then,
With a commission to teach to men
Of all He did and all He said;
The resurrection of the dead.

They saw Him lifted to the sky,
The Christ whose love would never die,
But even though He must depart
His memory stayed inside their heart.

Now each year on Ascension Day,
We look to heaven too, and pray,
That our ascended LORD will be
Forever in our memory.


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