The Greatest Miracle

Dear Friends

The Lord said,

An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.

Matthew 12:39

and I must judge myself by this standard, for how much of my life do I spend desiring a voice from heaven, or a paralytic jumping up before me, or to see water changed to wine? How much do I base my faith on seeing a sign, a miracle? And therefore, how much do the words of the Lord, “evil and adulterous,” apply to me?

St Nikolai Velimirovic, a much loved saint of the last century, says in one of his homilies, “a miracle is nothing other than a gift of God at which men marvel.” That God, in his love and care for his Creation, continually works in it and bestows his gifts upon it: and when he sees fit he allows us to see his gifts and we experience them as miracles.

The miracles which we see in the Gospel are all natural—they are not fantastic. Communication with God can be a regular event and we hear his words—not always as a voice from heaven but through the Scriptures and in Church; it is now commonplace to see all sorts of people healed in our hospitals and, although modern medicine still has much to learn, our progress thus far has been extraordinary; a vine regularly, and with predictability, changes water into grapes from which we participate with God’s miracle and create wine. God acts, acts regularly and acts often.

And I have a choice: I may go around seeking miracles from God as I define them, alongside an evil and adulterous generation, or I may open my eyes to see his gifts and miracles all around me. When a flower grows, when a child learns, when birds fly, when the sun rises, when water comes running through a tap—when I open my eyes to all God grants to me then I see his miracles.

And then I may start to hope for a greater miracle: that God will allow me to scrape off all the layers I have placed over my sin and see myself as I am, as I truly am. To see myself and not be repulsed by myself because God is not repulsed by me—rather, he calls me to repentance, to healing, to wholeness. And then I have the opportunity for the greatest miracle, as described by our beloved father, St Sophrony of Essex,

The greatest miracle in all the universe: the union of man’s heart with the Spirit of Christ.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do not seek after signs, after miracles, but open your eyes to the miracles we witness every day. And in our gratitude to God the greater miracle may occur: by turning in repentance to him we may be healed, transformed, sanctified and united to him.

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

You see, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the pattern of the Lord. He does not come to give a philosophical system, he does not come with ideas nor teachings, he comes to create a community—to reconstitute the Israel of God in himself from the faithful remnant of the Judeans so that all faithful may come to him. So, following the infancy narratives in Matthew’s Gospel, Christ is baptised by the Forerunner in the Jordan and goes into the wilderness to combat Satan. And now, before teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Kingdom and healing he calls together a community.

And this is important for us today. The Church is not those individuals who have the right doctrines about God, she is the community of believers. And this community, this gathering, this assembly, is the Church whose head is Christ himself. For us, as the ancient Christian statement says, “one Christian is no Christian,” because by ourselves we are separate from each other, from the body of Christ, from the Church.

The Lord comes and calls Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And they leave their nets and follow him: likewise, James and John who even leave their father. And from this nascent community Christ began his ministry.

Read last Sunday’s Sermon, Follow Me.
Archive of Past Sermons.

Services this week

Friday 1st July
Discussion on the book of Exodus, 8 pm
Online only

Saturday 2nd July
Vespers, 6.30 pm
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh

Sunday 3rd July
Divine Liturgy, 9.30 am
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh

Online session is via Google Meet: please get in contact for the details.

Please join us: all are welcome, come and see.

Attending Church

We will be meeting at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. Come and See.

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Can you help the mission?

Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.

Your prayers!

With love in Christ

Fr Alexander