Awe and Wonder: Look Around You

In his 2014 sermon on “Parables of Miracles” Rev. Douglas Taylor from the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Binghamton starts with this story.

“A mother asked her son what he learned in Sunday School. He said he learned about the time Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. “When they reached the Red Sea, they crossed over on a pontoon bridge,” the boy said, “and did not get their feet at all wet while God sent a fighter aircraft to stop the Egyptian soldiers and blow up the pontoon bridge when the Egyptians tried to cross it.”
She was surprised and asked if that was really what he was taught. He said, “No, but if I told you what the teacher said, you wouldn’t believe me.”

While I was in my non-denominational yet very fundamentally Pentecostal college I often heard the phrase “Miracles are marching towards you or past you every single day”.  I remember thinking how absolutely tiresome it must be to look for and find each and every one of them and what did it say about you or your faith if you didn’t see them.

It was Albert Einstein who wrote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

We are in the midst of many miracles today. For some of us it is a miracle that we got here on time at all because of Daylight Savings Time. Some of us might be thinking – well it was a miracle I didn’t’ run out of gas because my tank is running on empty. We refer to people as miracle workers because they accomplish things we don’t seem to be able to.  The reality is however, that things are happening all around us that are too big too small too fast too slow too deep perhaps for us to recognize at first…… but we can experience them nonetheless…..

Miracle, a noun meaning “amazing or wonderful occurrence,” comes from the Latin miraculum “object of wonder.” It is any amazing or wonderful occurrence.

This morning we have listened to and seen and been part of several moments of awe and wonder that were shared with us or that we shared with each other. If pushed we each can think of those times in our lives when we were part of something amazing and wonderful. When we think of the people in this community who have touched us so deeply and changed us……Karl Adams, Nancy Jacobs, Kevin Durciansky, and Rene Gonzalez come to my mind because they have reached into my soul and shown me so much awe and wonder, and each and every soul that now roams freely in our hearts and memories… what a miracle that they were in our lives –  how amazing that we found each other in this beloved space!

No doubt we have had those times in our lives when we were in the presence of something outside of ourselves – music, dance, art, nature, science, feathers and fur, scales and gills – people, events – something outside ourselves that took us by surprise and made us argue even if just inside of our selves about the presence and the existence of the miraculous.

When we light our chalice each week we draw into this space the energy of our common faith and the principles that bind us to each other and the world and that alone brings me to  a moment of wonder and awe each and every week.

So…. We have been in the midst of many miracles today. Look around you….

Lydia Patrick

Homily at the Sunday Service of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett March 13, 2016

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