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Video by United Methodist Communications

Children share their understanding of miracles as part of a 2017 Easter ad campaign by The United Methodist Church. They have much to teach adults.

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Do you believe in miracles? Children’s answers add depth at Easter

A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino*
April 5, 2017

“Do you believe in miracles?”

That simple question, which might challenge adults, elicited some remarkable replies when a United Methodist pastor asked some children about the concept. The children's powerful insights can be seen on television and the internet in the weeks leading up to Easter 2017 as part of an ad campaign by the church.

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.

A miracle is something you just have to be thankful for.

Hailee reminds us that we cannot always understand a miracle, “you have to just be thankful for it.” Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

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.

For Easter, we asked children about miracles, and listened for God to speak through them.

Lucas says a miracle is when God surprises us.

Lukas teaches that a miracle is, “When God surprises us.” Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

God’s surprises

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.

Children believe that Jesus still works miracles today.

Eli believes that Jesus still works miracles "all the time." Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

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 in the opposite direction. 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.

A miracle is an everyday extraordinary.

“A miracle is an everyday extraordinary,” Alisyn shares. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

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!

What if…

The children’s answers about miracles are part of a yearlong United Methodist advertising campaign. “Our Beliefs. Their Words.” encourages viewers 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 Easter ads. “What would the world be like if we all did?”

“We believe that together, through God’s love,” the ad 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.

A child reminds us to keep believing in miracles.

“If you believe in miracles,” Lilia encourages, “keep believing.” Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

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.

Happy Easter!

The ads encourage viewers to attend a local United Methodist church on Easter Sunday to celebrate the greatest of all miracles, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You can watch the spots here.

*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email or at 615-312-3733.