Sermons by Rev. Bonnie
December 11, 2006
This year Hanukkah-the Festival of Lights begins at sundown December 15. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jewish people over the Asyrians about 150 years before Christ was born. As the story goes, the Asyrians were a pagan people—while the Jewish people were the only people in the world at that time to believe in one G-d. The Asyrians forbid the Jews to practice their faith, and were instead forced to bow down to carved idols that were placed in the holy temple. A brave Jewish family called the Maccabees rose up and united the Jewish people against the Asyrians. The Maccabees were out-numbered, out-weaponed, and out-classed in war. The Jewish people should have been annihilated, but won because of courage, hope, and faith—and the miracles that G-d made to support them.
After the Jews were victorious they re-entered their temple and found it in a shambles. They cleaned it up and when it came time to re-light the Menorah—the candelabra—they searched the entire Temple, but only found one small jar of oil. Miraculously, the oil in that small jar burned for eight days, until a new supply of oil could be pressed.
From then on, the Jewish people have observed a holiday for eight days in honor of this historic victory and the miracle of the oil. This holiday is Hanukkah—the Festival of Lights.
That miracle that happened all those hundreds of years ago today serves as a reminder to the Jewish people—and to all people—of G-d’s love and support and presence in our lives.
The description of most miracles in the Hebrew scriptures and in the Christian scriptures are generally the same as the modern-day definition of the word: G-d manipulates the ‘laws of nature’. Examples of G-d’s miracles include parting the Red Sea, giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, deliverance of the Ten Commandments, cleansing leprosy, saving the Jewish people from annihilation on numerous occasions, and walking on water.
A literal reading of the Biblical accounts shows that there are a number of ways this can occur: G-d may suspend or speed up the laws of nature to produce a supernatural occurrence; G-d can create matter out of nothing;
G-d can breathe life into inanimate matter. The Holy Bible does not explain details of how these miracles happen, except that they require faith.
Miracles are found to be common in Islamic beliefs and traditions as well. It is believed that all miracles are done by the will of Allah (God). The Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, talks about miracles that happened to people, tribes and prophets. Miracles are not described as “miracles” in the modern definition, but large uncommon events all performed by God’s will.
How many of us say “I could sure use a miracle” or “If such and such happens that would be a miracle”? What would a miracle look like for us—wining the lottery? Finding the perfect partner or job or boss? Waking up with a different body would seem like a miracle to most of us! And the actual miracle is: we can have all of these things and more.
We don’t have to walk on the Red Sea or wait for it to part to bring a miracle into our life. As metaphysicians we have a different spin on miracles. Miracles are seen as expressions of love. We see them as generally interpersonal and they result in true closeness to others. They are as plentiful as we make up our mind they are. What brings them about is our willingness to change how we perceive the boss, the job, the partner, our bodies. Miracles reside within our minds. And—we can have as many as we desire.
Now, you may be sitting out there thinking “Dang—why didn’t somebody tell me this before?” So many of us feel a shortage of miracles in our lives. We are looking for the bolt of lightening and the clap of thunder. And, more often than not, it is our ego that gets in the way of our awareness, acknowledgement, and acceptance of our ability to have an abundance of miracles.
We’ve run across our ego before, haven’t we? We know that EGO stands for Edging G-d Out. Our ego controls our minds. If our mind is willing to be changed, the ego loses control over our feelings, actions, and thoughts. A miracle is nothing more than a changed mind, one that is now willing to follow the guidance of G-d or Spirit. Every time we make a decision, we are choosing either the ego and fear or Spirit and the miracle of love and forgiveness. And given the state of our world today—staying in love really is a miracle—perhaps on par with the miracles described in the scriptures.
We can claim a miracle for ourselves at any time we choose. It doesn’t take a special prayer, a unique relationship with G-d, or an extremely fortunate or unfortunate life. It takes only an open mind and an open heart. How many miracles have each of us already experienced today? What are some of them? (We woke up, we have sight, hearing, ability to walk, talk, eat, dress ourselves, smile, etc..) And what if we didn’t have the ability to do any of these things? Does that mean that G-d has forgotten us or we have entered a miracle-free zone? No. The process for receiving a miracle is ours 24/7 regardless of what is in front of us. What does it take? Stating simply,
“G-d, please help me see this situation in a more loving way.” That’s it. Say it with me: G-d, please help me see this situation in a more loving way. Miraculously, the new perspective will come and the burden of worry or fear or anger will dissolve.
When we are feeling love for ourselves, for the people and the experiences in our lives, we are in the midst of a miracle. It is comforting to know that we can choose to feel love, regardless of our current feelings, if we have made the decision to shift our perception. Remember the story “Peter Pan”? Peter had a fairy called Tinkerbell. As I remember the story, Tinkerbell drank some poison that was meant for Peter. And she started to get sick and was near death. At that point Peter turned to the audience and said if we believe in fairies to clap—loud—and that sustained applause was able to bring Tinkerbell back to her full glowing winged self.
You know—we drink poison every day. It is the poison of fear and worry and anger and illusion (or delusion). Just as we applauded to bring life back into Tinkerbell—so we need to applaud and love ourselves to keep the poison from taking over our system.
There is that situation now in England where a former KGB spy was poisoned by radiation. They have found traces of that radioactive material in airplanes, a restaurant, an embassy, on his wife, and on his friends. Poison does indeed spread my friends. It leaves its mark in unexpected places. And I have no doubt that love is hardier, more enduring, and much healthier for us.
It’s easier to be in love—to experience our everyday miracles—when we remember that we are not separate minds and separate bodies. Knowing and trusting that we are One with Spirit is key to our miracle manifestation ability. As we stand in our Oneness and breathe in our Oneness, we bring the love and peace of G-d to any experience. We are bound to have a far different perspective than seeing it from ego’s point of view. When we are in ego we are not holding the hand of G-d. Taking G-d’s hand lifts us from the turmoil ego has created.
Most of us are familiar with the story “The Wizard of Oz.” As a child—the scene that scared the bejesus out of me was when the house begins to fly and spin when the tornado hits Kansas. And there is old Miss Gulch on her bicycle and before our eyes she turns into a witch on a broomstick. Something about that just gave me the willies. I know—most people get the creeps with the flying monkeys… Anyway—here’s Dorothy singing about a place over the rainbow that will be trouble free. Once over the rainbow, she hooks up with a collection of characters who for whatever reason don’t believe they are whole. Dorothy too sits in anger and fear and feels less than. It takes the Wizard and the Good Witch to remind each of them that they already have all that they need. Dorothy is reminded that there is “no place like home.” And, it is totally in her capability to return there anytime she so desires.
And there is no place like home—home is our Oneness with G-d. As we allow our minds to express joy, happiness, and serenity we offer love as a matter of course. We are in alignment with Spirit. We are miracle makers.
So, in review—what does it take to experience everyday miracles?
1. Miracles are expressions of love and we have the ability to have them in unlimited numbers.
2. Miracles reside within our minds. What brings them about is our willingness to change how we perceive a situation or person.
3. If our mind is willing to be changed, the ego loses control over our feelings, actions, and thoughts. A miracle is nothing more than a changed mind, one that is now willing to follow the guidance of G-d or Spirit.
4. To bring on a miracle we just need to say: “G-d, please help me see this situation in a more loving way.”
5. Knowing and trusting that we are One with Spirit is key to our miracle manifestation ability.
As we light the candles of the Hanukkah menorah, on the first night we say the prayer:
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha olam, she asa nisim la avoteinu ba yamim ha heim ba z’man ha ze.
???? ??? ?’ ? ?????? ??? ?????, ???? ???? ???????? ????? ??? ???? ???.?
Translation: “Blessed are you G-d, Ruler of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.”
Yes, G-d did perform miracles for all of our ancestors. And today we know, that with every breath we take, we have the ability to give rise to our own miracles. As we prepare for this holy season, what a wonderful gift to give thanks and praise for.
© 2019 Bonnie J. Berger. All rights reserved.