There Will Be No Miracles Here

One of the great museums in Edinburgh is the Museum of Modern Art, located in Dean's picturesque village just outside the city proper. 

While there were terrific art and art installations within the museum, one of the pieces that captured my attention was a huge light display on the lawn with these words illuminated in it: 

There Will Be No Miracles Here 

I took my obligatory photo of the piece and then made my way into the MOMA to spend the next couple of hours marveling at some fantastic art. But I couldn’t get that light display out of my head, and as I exited the museum, I stood in front of those words again, wondering what the artist was trying to say with the piece.  

Was it a declaration that the space was a “miracle-free” zone and any would-be miracle workers needed to go elsewhere to ply their trade?  Or was it simply a statement that miracles never happened in that place?  

I don’t know what the artist meant to convey, but the fact that I stood there pondering it for about half an hour undoubtedly would have made them super happy.  It troubled me, and I finally figured out why. 

There’s this passage in the Gospels where it reads something like this:  “And [Jesus] could do no miracles [in certain villages] because of their lack of faith.”  

I’ve never liked that verse because countless faith healers and charlatan pastors have misused it to explain why healings don’t happen or prayers don’t get answered. 

But I found myself thinking about it differently at that moment.  What if Jesus didn’t perform any miracles in the villages in question because they didn’t want him there?  

What if the Gospel writer meant: “And Jesus could do no miracles in those places because they were scared to death of him.”  This is not a stretch because it happened in at least one other village where they astoundingly asked Jesus to leave. After all, they were frightened by his power.  

I then had to ask myself, “What if we struggle to experience the miraculous because we’re scared?  What if we’re scared to trust in what’s uncertain, scared to believe in the unbelievable, scared to admit that we are not in control?”  

I then found myself wondering in what ways I’ve uttered those exact words, ostensibly asking Jesus to leave because I’m frightened of what he might do. In so doing, I miss out on experiencing the miraculous all around me.  

Maybe we should all be saying, “There MUST Be Miracles Here!” Because we need them desperately and ultimately no matter what the cost to our ego or need for control. 

May you say those words today as a prayer and a plea.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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