Questioning authenticity~ historical accuracy~contextual studies~foundational truths…
these were the watchwords of my youth.
And there too, how many times have I practiced making statements that disqualified my faith? Statements such as:
- We can’t really know the actual day of Jesus’ birth…
- There must have been a logical explanation for the star that led the wise men to see the baby Jesus.
- Since we have no recorded image of Jesus, we can’t know what he truly looked like…
Which then led me to other kinds of statements such as:
- of course I don’t really believe that God created the world in a literal 7 days…
- and perhaps there is a logical explanation for all those miracles Jesus performed.
And even when I suspended my skeptical ways to believe all the accounts of the Bible…the angel’s visitation…the virgin birth…
I would hear myself saying:
- that was then and this is now and those are stories of a by gone time…
However, at some point I realized that these kinds of statements were not cultivating my inner eye of faith. These statements did not develop in me the fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. Instead they produced in me the fruits of skepticism~scoffing~cynicism. As a result my personal dreams became small and my inner fire extinguished.
Recently, my imagination was captured as I gazed at these pictures of The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes that sits on the northwest shore of the sea of Galilee near Capernaum, in a place called Tabgha, Israel. This beautiful stone church boasts the spot traditionally believed to be the place that Jesus performed his miraculous feeding of the 5000 with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. This event was so iconic in the ministry of Jesus and resonated so deeply with the Jewish people that it has been recorded in all 4 of the gospel accounts of his life. (Matthew 15: 29-39, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9: 10-17, John 6: 5-13 )
Amazing to see these people living by faith and celebrating this as the actual spot where Jesus performed his miracle of abundance. (read a description of a Spanish pilgrim from 380 A.D. by clicking here.)
Letting my mind wonder, it was easy for me to imagine how this stone might have been preserved through the centuries. Knowing this, I began to postulate on how important the location of this miracle might have become to each passing generation. Thinking on them, I can see how this stone must have invited them to gather and to partake of the communion feast. United by their faith, the many would become one, as they offered their lives to God and ask for him to bless and multiply their offering so it might regenerate many times over to represent his glory throughout the world.
If I stop and silence all the voices inside my head teaching me to be logical and distrust these kinds of things…
If I step out of my comfort zone and grab hold of the thought that maybe it is true…
I can also begin to imagine what it was like for those people who traveled a great distance to sit on a hillside to see with their own eyes the miracles of Jesus. I can then become curious about their individual lives. Who were these people and how were they changed as they witnessed Jesus’ miracle?
Why did they leave the comfort of their lives to seek and to hear the voice of Jesus? And if I resolve to bring the scene even closer… I might even begin to imagine myself sitting among them?
These are the kinds of spiritual exercises that can help me to grow in my faith and when I take time to do this, I am led by the Spirit to say with strengthening conviction that God is all powerful and that Jesus became human and dwelt among us performing many great signs and wonders while teaching us how to live transformed lives.
Yes! Jesus died and was buried and on the third day he rose again!!
And because I have allowed my mind to travel back and experience his miracle of abundance, I understand with a deepening faith that these things happened in a real time a place.
This week as you think about your own impossible….let your experience of this miracle fill your heart and let Jesus feed your inner eye of faith with his Spirit so you might live and shine his light outward into your community.
If you enjoyed this blog, you can find more meditations and journal suggestions in The Joyful Sound: Reflections on the Life of Christ in Art and Music by clicking here and using the July promotional code: SWG5K64H to receive a $5.00 insider discount:)
God bless your week and may his peace be with you!