Saturday, September 19, 2009


There was a miracle in Apia Samoa the rainy afternoon we arrived. Some say so, at least. A dark smudge appeared on a north facing 5th story awning across the street from a no-name church. It gathered a crowd of subdued locals craning necks to witness. There was even a small spotlight wandering aimlessly over the side of the building. I thought someone was about to jump.

The vague figure of Jesus' mother in a smudge gave people pause, gave others glimmers of mystery, and gave others further reason to mock.

There were other charcoal grey streaks on other awnings of the same building. But this particular one made the devout stare and point and wonder. I wonder too. What is a miracle? I suppose it is a mystery. I suppose it's also hope and relief - relief that I'm not alone and my tiny existence is noted by One in the cosmos.

How to verify? How to scientifically measure claims of miracles? Or maybe the question isn't How, it's Why? If I think a thing is a miracle and you don't, who is worse off?

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