July 14 was a “question box” worship service, with me answering questions that people wrote down on index cards. If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! The only problem was that I didn’t have near enough time to answer all the great questions I received, so I saved the extras to answer throughout the year. Here’s one, received from a child in our congregation:
Do Unitarians believe in miracles, like the story when Jesus made the castle walls fall down?
As with everything from veganism to God, we can’t definitively speak for what all UUs believe. We come together not because of shared belief, but because of shared covenant, which is the promises we make to each other.
Getting into the question about miracles, first we have to define what a miracle is. Some feel that a miracle is something supernatural, that happens outside of science. But Christian writer C.S. Lewis argued that no, “Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.”
I personally define miracles broadly. I have two children who are alive because of medical advancements that were not available when my father was a young parent. Last week, I saw my father who was confused and weak, come back to strength and sharpness when he received an IV of potassium in the hospital. I can understand the science behind it, but that the science exists, that we now know how to add back to someone’s body the vitamins that were missing … and to watch the change right in front of my eyes – well, to me, that’s a miracle.
One of my favorite songs is Holy Now, by UU Peter Mayer. In the song, he sings of being a child in a religion where miracles were limited and boundaried sacraments. As he grew older, he changed, and now he sings:
Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn’t one
Yes. That’s the challenge for this Unitarian. Finding where there isn’t a miracle.