When I look back over the life of this blog, it seems I grow silent in Eastertide. Part of the reason, I am sure, is the recoil from keeping my Lenten Journal and writing straight for forty-something days and nights. I don’t know all the reasons, or that they are the same from year to year. This year, my Lenten writings were not as regular and I have been thinking about some sort of plan or project I could dig into that would give me somewhat of a writing schedule. As I was waking up in the shower a few mornings ago, it struck me: Miracle Mondays.
I am going to write about the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.
I don’t want to read them the way too many high school English teachers make their students read poetry (“Be gone, J. Evans Pritchard!”), parsing every syllable and looking between the seams of each sentence to see what was really being said. I know there are things to be unpacked in poems—and in miracle stories—but that’s not how a poem grabs you by the heart. First, you just read it. I just want the stories to talk to me, to see if I can see the forest and the trees. Of course, the details are worth noting, along with where the stories fall in the context of the rest of what was going on with Jesus. Details are what make a story good; I just don’t want to over-analyze.
I’m also going to do my best to not feel compelled to make a theological point, or necessarily have a point at all. I want to see what the stories have to say. For now.
I plan to take the stories at face value. If it says Jesus healed the person or calmed the storm, I’m to willingly suspend my disbelief and swing out on my trapeze of trust and see what (who?) catches me. I’m not going to try and explain things, or convince anyone of anything. I’m just looking for the story, the “Once upon a time, Jesus . . . .”
One of my New Testament professors in seminary described the miracles as “parables in event,” which is to say there is more going on than Jesus healing some random person. The Gospel writers weren’t writing a travelogue, or recording minutes of their gatherings. The stories are invitations to question, to engage, to see what we might see. A parable is not an allegory, nor a fable. There’s not a lesson that is necessarily apparent, or even there at all. For me, Jesus’ parables are this-is-how-life-is stories, or this-is-how-God-is, yet, when the parable is over there are often more options than before the story was told. Sounds like fun to me.
There are thirty-five or thirty-six miracles recorded in the Gospels. I don’t know that I will write on everyone. I’m just going to jump in every week and write about what I see. I may group them, or compare them, or write about one more than once. I don’t have a particular sequence. About all I can say is I am going to write about the wedding at Cana first, when Jesus turned the water into wine.
I’ll see you next Monday. I hope you will both read along and talk back.