There is a stretch of road in the community I live and work in that is called the Miracle Mile. According to Wikipedia (as good a source for this as anything else I found):
“The stretch of US 11 between I-76 and I-81 is known as the “Miracle Mile” since it contains plenty of traveler services including restaurants, gas stations, lodging, truck stops, shops, etc. There is no direct interchange between the two interstates, so travelers must use this stretch, or travel through downtown Carlisle, to get from one interstate to the other.”
The more common explanation I have heard regarding the name is that it got its name because it’s a miracle if you can get through the mile because of the traffic. There’s some truth to that, but there’s plenty of exaggeration too. Having lived in Washington, DC, even the Miracle Mile doesn’t see traffic like downtown DC or NYC.
Regardless of the reason for the name, it’s the name that this stretch of road has.
And it’s the stretch of road that also has a variety of people who are considered outcasts, expendable, unworthy, and worse. It’s the stretch of road where there is homelessness, drug addiction, prostitution, sex and human trafficking, and immigration issues, among other challenges. It’s the Miracle Mile – a place where it’s a miracle that people can drive through this stretch of road and completely ignore what happens there. It’s a miracle that people can keep a blind eye to what goes on.
But what if that could change? What if the Miracle Mile was known for something else – where miracles happen.
That’s what I think it can become.
That’s what God is calling on us to do. To live out our faith, to create an environment where people can encounter Jesus and have their lives changed. That would be a miracle. To gather churches of different denominations together, agencies that deal with all sorts of challenges, businesses, etc. All coming together to tackle the pervasive challenges that haunt the Miracle Mile.
What if the Miracle Mile were a miracle in our midst? Not a miracle in the sense that you can get through it, but rather that it’s a miracle because people’s lives are changed – for the better.
Jesus is quoted as saying the following:
35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
What if the miracle that God has in mind is right here in our midst? That those who are imprisoned in human trafficking, homelessness, and drug addiction are set free. That those who are hungry are fed and the thirsty are given a drink of life-giving water. That those who are widowed and alone have true companionship and community, that those who lack clothing are clothed, that those who are children would be loved and cared for, That those who are strangers are welcomed with hospitality, that those who have lost their humanity and dignity will have it restored.
That is the vision of what a miracle looks like. That is what it means to live out the faith that we have been given. That is what the kingdom of God looks like in our midst. It’s not some distant, far off thing that we read about in the Bible. It’s right here, just waiting to be unleashed. And God is tapping us on the shoulder and saying, it’s time – it’s time for a miracle. It’s time for the Miracle Mile to be a miracle.