Daily Reflection
June 9th, 2004
Mary Haynes Kuhlman
English Department
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Today’s readings say, “If you believe that Jesus is God, follow Him.”

First we have the Old Testament story about Elijah’s faith in his Lord, the “God in Israel,” , and the Lord’s excellent demonstration of His power.  Fire triumphs over water to make the children of Israel proclaim that they believe: “The LORD is God!”  In the Psalm, we who believe in the Lord sing our faith – and our need to have God’s power in our lives:  “Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.” 

And then in today‘s Gospel passage, Jesus asserts that he will “fulfill,” the law, complete the work of the prophets like Elijah.  Every bit of every word of the Old Testament’s promise that God is with us is realized in the Incarnation of the Word., in the water of Baptism in Christ, and in the fires of Pentecost.

Yet while the law and the prophets are not abolished, I think our faith is “new” in our confidence that God is truly with us in this world, even though we don’t expect God to send fire down from heaven in answer to some modern Elijah.  We are reasonably skeptical of “miracles.” Last year, in my own home town in Massachusetts, a remarkable image resembling a portrait of Mary, the Mother of God, became apparent in a double-glazed window at the local hospital.  Huge crowds gathered to view the window, and many believed it to be a miraculous sign. Thus it surely WAS a miracle in the sense of the definition of miracles given by a character in George Bernard Shaw’s play Saint Joan:  “If they confirm or create faith, they are true miracles.”   Although a natural explanation that includes words like “condensation” and “coincidence” is pretty obvious, the hospital’s window served, for some, like Elijah’s consuming fire. While for safety reasons the window is covered for much of the day, my brother reports that people are still coming in the limited viewing hours to pray and to leave flowers by the wall of the building.  Their faith is also “miracle,” a sign of God’s power in the world. 

Given the skepticism of our times, we are grateful for the gift of faith in God, in Christ, Risen Savior, living and powerful, here and now.  We see the world as, to use Andrew Greeley’s adjective, “enchanted,” God-filled, and manifesting God’s power in everything, from the fires of sunsets and the waters of ocean surf, to the generous sacrifices of our heroes.  With faith and hope I pray today from the tradition of the law and the prophets as taught to me:  “Come, Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fires of your Love.” 

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