Back when I attended Vacation Bible Camp (and won the Color War “homiletics” competition for my team three summers in a row) we used to think of “miracles” as things like “Sea Mysteriously Parts” and “Convicted Criminal Rises From Dead to Seek Revenge” and “Bread and Wine Magically Changes into Flesh and Blood Without Violating Cannibalism Taboos.”
But kids these days have debased the Queen’s English in a number of ways, like using nonsense words ending in “-izzle” and flambosting made-up terms like “hyphy” and abandoning all sorts of useful urination-related euphemisms, including “see a man about a horse,” “drain the lizard,” “squirt the dirt,” and “syphon the python.”
This same linguistic debauchery has happened to “miracle,” I fear. Nowadays it’s a “miracle” when the US Ice Hockey team beats the pants off of some commies. It’s a “miracle” when Mike (of + the Mechanics) gets his girlfriend back.
And, according to Randal Rauser, it’s a “miracle” when his friend dies of cancer:
The day that Paula died is, in the eyes of the world, a day for mourning and defeat. How different is the Christian story. Paula’s death was a miracle.
What an unorthodox sales pitch for Rauser’s god! While most people would regard Paula’s death as the natural (and sad) consequence of our current inability to cure cancer, Rauser shows us how to repurpose even the most horrific events into arguments for his theology. Although he was apparently too busy not mourning and not feeling “defeat” to give an example of an appropriate prayer for this situation, I have taken the liberty of helping him out:
Creator of the Universe, Puller of The Big Plug In the Sky, Great Eucharistic Euthanasiast, Exalted Cosmic Kevorkian, Divine Mercy Killer, You Who Put Us Out of the Misery That (In Your Infinite Wisdom) You Have Bestowed Upon Us, Murderous Imaginary Nut, Blessed be You! Way to kill!
And I’ll try to use this new, expansive definition of “miracle” next time something horrible happens to one of my loved ones. (“Remember that necrotizing fasciitis my cousin got? They amputated his arm! It’s a miracle!”)