I love sports. In fact at one point in my life, I thought I would either grow up to be the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls or the next Al Michaels. In my 12 year old mind it was a toss up.
One of the things that sport’s personalities are especially good at is talking in cliches. Some people like to complain about sport’s cliches (Give 110%, “the intangibles,” etc.); I, however, choose to embrace them. One of my favorite sport’s cliches is the term “miracle.” Sportscasters LOVE to call things miraculous . . . even things that we see on a regular basis. What do I mean? Here are a few famous sport’s “miracles”:
“The Music City Miracle” – In January 2000, the Buffalo Bills had a playoff victory all but secured against the Tennessee Titans before Frank Wycheck threw a lateral across field to Kevin Dyson who scored a touchdown as time expired to win the game for Tennessee.
“The Miracle on Ice” – Against the backdrop of the cold war, a group of youngsters from the U.S. defeated the more experienced Soviet Union in ice hockey at the Lake Placid Olympic Games. Al Michaels famously quipped as the game ended, “Do you believe in miracles? YES!”
“Danny and the miracles” – This one is especially painful for OU fans. Back in the 1988 Final Four, Kansas star Danny Manning led the Jayhawks passed the heavily favored Sooners to win the national title.
“The Miracle at the Meadowlands” – Back in 1978 the Giants had the Eagles defeated. All they had to do was take a knee and run out the clock (with less than 30 seconds remaining). Strangely the Giants decided to try to run a play and fumbled a handoff that was scooped up by Herm Edwards (“You play to win the game”) who rumbled 28 yards for a game winning touchdown for Philadelphia.
“The Miracle Mets” – In 1969, the New York Mets had not ever won a title. This unlikely group won 39 of their last 50 games en route to winning the World Series over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
See what I mean? Everywhere you look, in most every sport, we are talking about miracles. But, are these really miracles? Of course not. The game is never over until you hear the final gun (cliche) and comebacks are always possible. Coaches can always lose their composure (cliche) and make a bad call. Home ice advantage (cliche) is worth something. When we use the term miracle in sports, we basically mean either an upset or a crazy comeback victory. Upsets and comebacks are exciting, but they are certainly not supernatural in origin.
However, there are claims that events of truly a supernatural origin HAVE occurred on this planet. Things like:
- A pair of humans walking on water
- A defiant man being swallowed by a fish and living inside that fish’s belly for three days before becoming a strangely effective evangelist in a pagan city.
- A flood of epic proportions killing all humanity except one family.
- A dead man resurrecting (as predicted) three days after crucifixion.
Now these events are not just comebacks or upsets . . . they are truly acts of God. However, as Bill Kraftson says, “If there is a God who can act, then there can be acts of God.” Last week at WIldwood, we saw the evidence that there IS a God in the universe who acts to pursue a relationship with you and me. This week, in our “Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity” series we will be talking about why we might believe that the miracles listed above (as well as many other) actually have occurred. Specifically, I will be inviting my friend Mark Burget (an attorney) to help us examine the evidence about whether or not the biggest miracle of all (the resurrection of Jesus Christ) actually happened. Can this significant miracle stand up under the trial of history? We will look at the evidence this Sunday morning at Wildwood in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services. Hope to see you there!