Hanukkah Lights & Miracles
December 13, 2020 sermon by Dawn Hancy, Lay Pastor, following a Hanukkah presentation by Ellen Urman
The story of the Hanukkah menorah teaches about faith, even in miracles.
Do you believe in miracles? Either way, it’s okay with me. I’m not going to try to define what is or isn’t a miracle for you.
Instead, I invite you to think of miracles as experiences, incidents of connection with the Divine, evidence of Divine presence in our lives.
Miracles can be co-created, like Grace, which we talked about recently, as we reach for the Divine and the Divine is always all around us, reaching for us. Synchronicity is another, milder version of a miracle - surprizing, helpful, open to interpretation, more than coincidence, seeming to increase with intentional/mindful/spiritual practice.
Miracles, Grace, and synchronicities all take us beyond ourselves, help us connect with something sacred, and larger than ourselves. All these, and miracles especially, can inspire gratitude, humility, reverence, awe, wonder, faith, receiving, transcendence, inspiration, mystery - they are blessings, meaningful anomalies outside of everyday life.
Spiritualist phenomena may seem miraculous and can happen spontaneously, though also occur more with practice. Our 9th principle states “We affirm that the precepts of Prophecy and Healing are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship.” What we take for granted would seem miraculous to others, and to many of our ancestors who were taught that these things only happened in biblical times.
We can even ask for miracles - and you might be surprised when you get homework for an answer! Sometimes it’s just what we need when we’re feeling stuck, and need a solution that’s beyond the logic of the moment. You may also receive an upgrade, a transformation, an initiatory experience, even the beginning of a journey of healing and personal growth. Keep in mind transformation can be inner or outer or both.
Believing in miracles or experiencing miracles doesn’t mean science isn’t real to us - our religion is spiritual science or science with spirit. Science is about inquiry, observation, documentation and analysis. Spiritual science uses more than our five senses and more than intellectual analysis, listening to intuition and even dreams for clues - as many scientists have done for centuries. Combining spirit and science isn’t new, nor is it obsolete in modern times. The structure of the periodic chart of elements was discovered in a dream!
Nature can seem miraculous - some call it God’s creation, or see it as sacred in itself, or as the body of the Goddess. Our 2nd principle states “We believe that the phenomena of Nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence.”
Biological life can seem miraculous - we’re nowhere near explaining it, and so it remains the mysterious Spark of Life. The 3rd definition of Spiritualism tells us that “Spirit is the creative energy which is the cause of all visible things. Spirit is that invisible, intangible, but very real something we call life. We are Spirit now, encased in a physical body and will continue eternally as an individual soul.”
Light itself can also seem miraculous. Space, the Universe, appears to be basically dark, though there remains light that is as yet unexplained by scientists.
We can honor and celebrate sacred darkness as we’ve explored a bit here over the last weeks and months of lengthening nights and diminishing days. But we really do need the light for food to grow and for warmth, and summer can be too hot but most of us really do enjoy it. We also need vitamin D from the Sun, and some people feel adverse effects from a lack of daylight.
Many religions and traditions honor light and use special lights - even birthdays, New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July.
The important thing is the meaning we find in those lights, and in the miracles in our lives, just as the importance of science is ultimately in the meaning and understanding we gain, the benefit to humanity and our relationships with the natural and spiritual realms, not just going through the motions for the sake of bigger and better - or smaller and more deadly - technological advancement.
We can gaze into a candle flame or notice strings of colored lights as we drive around our neighborhoods and feel the unity of all those who gather around the hearth, the menorah, the Christmas tree, the altar to honor the light within and the light of hope, faith, love and healing. May it be so.