It was a beautiful Saturday morning. As my wife and I discussed what we wanted to do for the day, we decided to head to a local state park on the shores of Lake Erie. Since it was only about 35 minutes from our house, it seemed like the perfect getaway (for a few hours at least). We packed a picnic lunch for the whole family and hit the road.
Upon our arrival at the park, we discovered a large crowd because there was a lighthouse festival taking place there. We found a picnic table across the inland lake from the festival, but could still hear the sounds of a community concert band playing music ranging from the Indiana Jones theme song to John Philip Sousa’s most famous march, The Stars and Stripes Forever. Claire and I kept discussing that this was a pretty awesome outing for a spur of the moment decision. Little did we know it was about to get better.
After lunch we made our way around the beach over to the location of the festival tents and an amphitheater that provided space for entertainment throughout the day. The concert band was finishing up as our two year old played in the sand and dipped her toes in the water. All of a sudden, I heard a new voice coming from the amphitheater speakers and turned around to discover a magician standing on a picnic table. He was waving around an eight foot magic wand to advertise his show and even added “With a wave of my magic wand, all of your problems will disappear!”
We went over to join the rest of the audience for the show and his act quickly began with a rousing repertoire of magic set to Gloria Estefan’s Get on Your Feet. He proceeded to pull cards and colorful ribbons from his mouth and even make a dove appear from a scarf. As the song approached its final moments, the magician pulled a cylindrical object out of his box of tricks and yelled, “Everybody watch this!” He put the dove into the cylinder and then slid a similarly shaped lid on top of it. Then came the big moment. He counted “One, Two Three!” and as quickly as the lid went on, he pulled it off to reveal a white rabbit inside of the cylinder instead of the dove! I have to admit, it was pretty cool.
On my way home I kept thinking about how he “turned” that dove into a rabbit and I couldn’t help but wish that sometimes our belief in God was that simple, or perhaps that Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist was as obvious. How many times do we doubt our belief in the Eucharist because it looks exactly the same when we receive it as it did when it was first placed on the altar? Surely many people would return to Church if it were as obvious as a dove turning into a rabbit! But really, that would be watering it way down. It’s almost hard to type it’s so absurd. Faith isn’t an illusion, and Jesus becoming present in a simple piece of bread isn’t a trick. It’s real. We also can’t wave an eight-foot magic wand and expect all of our problems to go away. Unfortunately, I think that happens all too often. We want the quick fix and the easy solution. In this day and age when we can learn anything we want to know in the blink of an eye (through the power of Google), it makes faith even more challenging on a daily basis.
This week, let’s make a conscious effort to realize that our faith isn’t an illusion or a magic trick. Although it may seem intangible at times, it is more real and relevant than we could ever imagine.