I choose to label myself as Christian, not just because I was raised that way or because it’s the most simple label to apply to yourself in Bible belt (which it absolutely is), but because I really think that Christ has a lot to offer when it comes to how a person should live their life. My perspective is obviously framed by the things that I was taught growing up, so I respect someone who doesn’t value what Christ said as important and essential. I’ve had talks with an atheist friend who has some serious qualms with what Christ said in Matt. 5-7, the sermon on the mount. Christ tackles big issues in that talk: anger, lust, divorce, retaliation, giving, fasting, anxiety, and judgement. From my little Christian goggles, even if you take away the divinity of Christ, I still think that what he discusses specifically in those passages are a good way to live. For example, it’s just better to not be anxious, despite our natural reaction and it’s just a way to be happier to let anger slide away from you.
Here’s my problem, though. When it comes to Christ’s divinity, at the risk of sounding like Aerosmith song, I’m jaded. I realized this last night while in a Vespers class at Otter Creek last night. The primary focus for the class was the passage that contains the miracle of turning water into wine and the wedding at Cana. Now, I’ve only gone to this vespers class a couple of times, but I am impressed with the reverence with which the Word of God is approached, that community obviously values time with the word spent in silence as well as discussion about it. When the verses were introduced, I immediately felt my eyebrows rise in a “here we go again” motion; one of Jesus’ first miracles, and I, in all my magically 26-year-old splendor, have the absurd idea to mentally mock it? That’s when I had to take a step back and check myself.
When I hear the story of this miracle, do I mock it because I partially doubt the divinity of Christ? To be honest, maybe.
I know this story inside and out, I’ve heard it picked apart by foolish and insightful people alike, and to be honest, I’ve probably not focused on the miracle-ness of it since I was about 6-years-old. Teaching miracles to children is easy. It’s trying to explain them away, piece by piece to adults that the problem comes. Honestly, at this point in my life, I do not care whether or not it was wine or just plain old grape juice, I do not care how the people celebrated their weddings in those times, and frankly, I don’t care what Jesus said when it happened. All I’m curious about now is whether or not a man (divine or not) could do such a thing; and why have I believed that he could for so much of my life?
For many people the miracles of Jesus are the reason why they believe in him. So, why is it so hard for someone who already believes to believe that these miracles actually happened?