Do you believe in miracles? Children’s answers add depth at Easter
“Do you believe in miracles?”
That simple question, which might challenge adults, elicited some remarkable replies when a United Methodist pastor asked children about the concept. The children's powerful insights can be seen in a series of videos produced by The United Methodist Church used for our Easter 2017 & 2018 advertising campaigns.
Hailee, for example, is comfortable with the mystery of a miracle. She focuses instead on how to respond. “When something so good happens to you, that you have to just be thankful for it,” she shares.
Listening to children
“What we’ve been going for is something that’s not packaged, something that we didn’t create and feed to the kids, but just came out of their heart,” explains the Rev. Jacob Armstrong who conducted the interviews.
“To see God’s love through the eyes of children is a wonderful experience,” adds Jennifer Rodia, Chief Communications Officer at United Methodist Communications where the spots were produced.
Seeing God's love through the eyes of a child may be what Jesus had in mind when he had a famous moment with children.
One day, Jesus’ followers did what they thought was sensible. They stopped some parents from bringing their children to Jesus. They probably didn’t want him to be interrupted.
When Jesus heard this, he said to the disciples, “Allow the children to come to me… the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children” (Matthew 19:14 CEB). Then he took the time to bless the youngsters.
In these videos, we listened for God to speak through the children.
When Pastor Jacob asks Hannah if she believes in miracles, she enthusiastically replies, “Yes!”
Others offer a bit more, talking about miracles as extraordinary, unexplained events.
Xavier explains, “Stuff that you think isn’t possible becomes possible.”
Rainey agrees, “You can always think that it’s not possible, but it probably is to God!”
Lukas expresses something similar but with a twist. He says a miracle is, “When God surprises us.” Adding, “He saved my life. Twice!”
God undoubtedly surprised the first followers of Jesus on that first Easter morning. The gospels of Mark and Luke report that a group of women went to the tomb early in the morning to anoint Jesus’ body. They certainly did not expect him to be alive.
John’s gospel includes the story of Mary Magdalene mistaking the resurrected Jesus for a gardener whom she asks where Jesus’ body is. When he speaks her name, Mary is surprised to recognize Jesus.
Lukas knows that God surprised them then and continues to surprise us today.
Immersed in miracles
Other children recognize miracles as part of our regular experiences that we need the eyes of faith to see.
When Pastor Jacob asks, "Do you think Jesus still works miracles today?" Eli replies, "Yup. All the time."
Alisyn describes it very succinctly, “A miracle is an everyday extraordinary.”
Eli and Alisyn teach that miracles happen all around us daily. Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize them.
The miracle of a sunset happens every evening. A seed miraculously knows to send its roots deeper into the earth and its stalk toward the sky. Many of us have experienced the miracle of a friend who knows just the right thing to say, or of strangers who travel to the place of a natural disaster to help rebuild.
The Bible tells us that we live in the midst of a miracle. In Christ, God is reconciling the whole world to himself, and calls us to enter into this ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-19). This means that we not only witness the miracle, but we get to participate in it too!
The children’s answers about miracles are part of a yearlong United Methodist advertising campaign. “Our Beliefs. Their Words” encourages us to consider how the church and the world might be different if we chose to follow more closely Jesus’ directive to be childlike (Matthew 18:1-5).
“Children believe in miracles” appears on the screen at the end of the video. “What would the world be like if we all did?”
“We believe that together, through God’s love,” it concludes, “we can experience the miracle of Easter.”
With trust like Hailee, we give thanks for the miracle. With faith like Lukas, we grow more aware of God’s surprises. Believing like Alisyn opens our eyes to the everyday extraordinaries happening around us.
At Easter, we celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection and invite others to join us in the new life we receive from him. A life filled with the miraculous.
“If you believe in miracles,” Lilia encourages in the video, “keep believing.”
We will, Lilia. Thanks be to God.
This story originally posted on April 5, 2017.