"...You can use his higher power
In every day and any hour
He heals the sick and heals the lame
Says you can do it too in Jesus name"
-from Van Morrison's song, Whenever God Shines His Light On You.
I'm currently reading Marcus Borg's Jesus: A New Vision and Christopher Moore's book Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Both books are about the life of Jesus. Both books talk about his miracles.
I'm not sure what I think about miracles. I mean, I know that God can give power to humans and that, theoretically, miracles can happen. But do they? Did they? Do they still?
Some of Jesus' miracles seem to me to be symbolic, so the point isn't whether they literally happened but the stories of them happening, the context of the stories. I guess my doubt comes from whether Jesus would have needed to "prove" his divinity. What was Jesus' purpose? I disbelieve the passages of the apostles in which they have Jesus asserting his divinity. I believe Jesus knew himself to be a teacher and guide rather than an incarnation of the Divine. So, if he was a teacher, would he have healed? There are accounts of other spiritual leaders performing miracles, so I guess the answer is yes. My distrust in miracles comes from my inrooted cynicism about claims made "in God's name". I think only charlatans need to speak for God to give themselves power.
I went to a workshop on "hands-on healing" 6 months ago. Around the same time I met a woman who practices a form of healing-touch therapy. I used to be so cynical about that kind of thing. I couldn't stop myself from feeling that people who practiced acts like that were exceedingly gullible, desperate or false. I have difficulty suspending disbelief in things I can't understand. My feelings are that people who are "healed" have become so through their faith rather than any gift or talent on the part of the healer. Psychosomatic healing, if you will. On the other hand, I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea of people in other cultures experiencing healing from indigenous healers. Maybe the difference is that I need there to be a cultural context for healing to happen and my life is lacking in any of that kind of context.
My only connection to the "spirit world" is through my intuition, intellect and books. I've never been in any situation in which others were connecting to the healing of "spirit" or Divine Power (or, if I have been, I was so distanced from it emotionally, that I was unaware of what was happening). Our staid, calm, centered Meetings for Worship don't count. Yes, we are there to open ourselves to the Divine and be ready for God to speak through us, but acknowledging the existence of a spiritual realm beyond the veil of this material world seems very far from where we are when we collectively meet to worship God. I suspect that there are individuals who are aware of, or even "in touch" with, a deeper awareness of the spiritual realm but, for whatever reason, that is not brought to Meeting for Worship-maybe because it would scare the socks off most of the people (as it would have done me up until recently).
I must go get ready for today's bus ride.