The year was 2001. A relatively unknown writer named Leif Enger released a book titled Peace Like A River. It is one of my favorites. In the first few pages some truths are laid down about miracles, real miracles. One that has stuck with me since my first reading is this: “No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here’s what I saw. Here’s how it went. Make of it what you will.”
The miracles presented in today’s texts are not cut from the spectacular. The sun did not suddenly stand still; no dead bodies rubbed their eyes and woke up; no men walked fluidly across the surface of the sea. No, these miracles deal with the multiplication of the mundane, the stuff of earth like bread and fish and wine. But because they were still miracles, there were witnesses ranging from the disciples to the curious onlookers. And while they may not have taken the witnesses’ breath away, these miracles definitely left them satisfied.
The fact that Christ took time out of His busy schedule of saving the world to focus on common things like food and drink can be a comfort to most of us, for most of us don’t live in the world of the spectacular. Oh, it’s possible we do in our dreams, but for most of us our waking moments are filled with what one writer called “the precious ordinary.” But you see, it is in the very ordinariness of our lives that Christ often does the extraordinary, if—and this is a big “if”—we’re paying attention. In other words, if we’re doing the job each and every one of us is called to do: to be witnesses.
Here’s the deal. Jesus may not miraculously multiply the food in your fridge. But He may nudge your neighbor to bring over two dozen of the eggs His hens just laid. And the conversation the two of you have in that moment, which usually has all the zing of a cheap bottle of red, may strangely warm into something that feels aged, vintage even.
Would those be classified as modern-day miracles? Well, they might be if someone was paying attention, if someone was there to witness them, to stand knee-deep in the ordinary and declare, “Here’s what I saw. Here’s how it went. Make of it what you will.”
Written by John Blase