Our January 16 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The January 23 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
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Isaiah 62:1-5 | Psalm 36:5-10
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 | John 2:1-11
The Wedding at Cana, often it is called Jesus’ First Miracle. Maybe, if nothing else, it is the first miracle recorded in John’s Gospel, or at least, John believes that this is the first miracle which Jesus performed. It is an interesting choice for the Gospel lesson for the Second Sunday in Epiphany. What does changing water into wine have to do with God’s light breaking into the world? I’m not sure. Other than this is where he begins his ministry and self-revelation in this village of Cana.
We’re told that this takes place in “the third day.” I wondered if that was important. In Genesis, on “the third day,” God separates the water from the land, and causes the land to begin to produce vegetation, seeds and fruit. Well, in the Wedding at Cana, there is water, and there is fruit, wine is called “the fruit of the vine.” And, there is also a demonstration of Jesus’ control over creation. Hmmmm…
As important as that might be, Jesus as Author of Creation, and having control over creation, which is borne out in numerous other stories, I think that the more important part is the Wedding. That image of a wedding runs very often through the scriptures. We have a taste of it in the Isaiah text today, “you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married.” That image streams through the scriptures. God often refers to Himself in the OT as the “husband,” and Israel the “bride,” especially in the prophets. The image continues to flow into the New Testament. Jesus’ public ministry (for John) beginning here at this wedding, and culminating at the end of the NT with the Great Marriage Feast at the end of the Book of Revelation, when all things are made complete.
Indeed, that is the image, completeness. In marriage, husband and wife are supposed to complete each other, the joining of the two, the love which binds the two. There is the theme, or image, that through our own, human marriages, that we reflect God’s steadfast love for us. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians. He says that it is a mystery, and a deep one, that the Church is the Bride, and Christ is the Bridegroom. So, it is fitting that Jesus would begin, or is “open,” as in “out in the open” ministry at a wedding.
It is interesting, that it is a badly planned wedding. I’ve gotten to witness many badly planned weddings. Of course, the badly planned weddings that I’ve had to take part in, or officiate at, the problem usually comes down to one thing. People watch too much television. Television screenwriters don’t know how to do a wedding, don’t understand the theological significance of marriage, and generally just go for schmalz. It has created a new profession, the Wedding Planner. I tell you that in my 35 years of performing weddings, I have only worked with one who was worth her salt. And she is now retired. If you know anyone getting married soon, pass that information along to the bride. At this wedding at Cana, they don’t have the problem of television, or a wedding planner. They have another problem. They’ve run out of wine – maybe that is what the “third day” means? They are in the third day of the celebration. It was not unusual for wedding celebrations in that region, and in Jesus’ time, to last for a week or more.
Somehow, Jesus’ mother gets involved. Mary is related to one of the wedding party; the bride or the groom. And she gets Jesus involved, somewhat reluctantly we should notice, “What concern is that to you and to me?”. But as a good son, Jesus takes 6 jars used for the purification rites (all Jewish homes had such jars – the cleansing rite is a precursor to baptism), each holding 20- 30 gallons, has them filled with water, and changes the water to wine. And, not just any wine, not Boone’s Farm or Ripple, but good wine, along the lines of Chateau La Fitte Rothschild, or that Mexican wine that I sampled this week. It was very good! And not just a bottle or two of it, Jesus makes 120 to 180 gallons of it! No wonder that the steward is confused. But, he doesn’t really know what has taken place.
What has taken place? Well, we have a foretaste of things to come. Jesus, God’s Son, is breaking into our world. That is an Epiphany within itself. But, with him, and through him, God is joining himself to his people, as at a wedding, come as one of us. That God provides more than enough for our needs and wants. And, what Christ gives to us is far better than what we have for ourselves, and then, we have not enough of it.
The first miracle is like all of the rest, really. God’s light bursts into our world, and upon us, although we may not comprehend it – like the steward, who didn’t understand. But God provides more than enough for us through Christ. Christ still is present, joining in our celebration, in and through our baptisms, and greets us in the bread and the wine, as we come before him at the altar to meet him in his Holy Supper – a foretaste of that feast to come, the Heavenly Banquet at the end of the age, a celebration begun in the village of Cana, at a wedding poorly planned. But, with Christ, all things will be ultimately glorified, as he is.