Being dominated by hierarchies that tend to value their worldly standing, the Church plays down the supernatural elements of the faith. Miracles are embarrassing to leaders who value the estimation of a rationalist, modern society, what’s more supernatural things are hard to control. If you are a bishop who likes order and structure and everyone doing the right thing, the last thing you want is phenomena that don’t adhere to canon law.
In order not to encourage things that are irregular and troublesome, the Church will sometimes even leave out awkward Bible verses.
When it comes to the closing words of Saint Matthew Chapter 27, I wonder how many church leaders will find them disturbing?
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Curtains tearing, earthquakes, people coming back from the dead, not the sort of thing that will make you sound reasonable and acceptable on the television, more the sort of stuff that would make you sound like a nutcase and a crank. But before dismissing Matthew’s words as the product of an imaginative interpretation of events, one question: if God can’t do these things, then is he God at all? If God is not a supernatural God, then is he even worth our worship?