January 20, 2019 – John 2:1-11 - Water into Wine
written by The Rev Kathryn Snelling
Wonderful events – one of the biggest events in life
And once it is decided to go through with it….. all the preparations begin
The license and any other paperwork done, the date set, the location decided, the maid of honor chosen, set the number of bridesmaids – making sure and the dress flatters all body sizes and shapes (good luck with that) - Choosing the colors and the flowers
Then there’s the groom’s best man and the number of groomsmen to choose
Of course the invitations, the guest list: friends of the bride – friends of the groom, family from both sides
Then the reception. A whole other event to be orchestrated. The location, the decorations, the cake, the food, the drinks, the seating arrangements, the entertainment
And now there’s THE DANCE!
Whether it’s the bride and groom – or the bride and her father – or all the groomsmen or all the bridesmaids – some choreographed and rehearsed dance is all the rage these days – many are posted on Facebook and some even make it on to YouTube
Ahh, Weddings - no wonder they are rated high on the scale of life’s stressful events. And there’s really no surprise that they would be
Even being a happy occasion doesn’t eliminate the stress levels generated
Has anyone ever been involved in a wedding that that went off without a single hitch?
It may not have been a disaster but something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
It can happen – I suppose - but it is probably not the norm.
Last Friday – January 18th was the day the church remembers the Confession of St. Peter. So what does that have to do with weddings? Nothing really except it is also the date chosen for my ordination.
And I got to thinking – ordinations have a lot in common with weddings
Once you decide to go through with it, there’s all the preparations
Making sure all the paperwork is done and according to the canons
Setting the date – making sure the bishop can be there
The location is easy – the church, naturally
But you need to plan the ceremony - Who is presenting? Who will do the various readings and the prayers? What hymns we will sing? What color – yes there’s a choice – between white and red.
There isn’t anything to do for clothing – all the clergy have their vestments
Though I did have to get mine ordered and adjusted when it arrived
The guest list was pretty easy – everyone is invited
So an announcement had to be printed up and sent out
And oh – out of town family wants to come – that’s great – just find housing
And there was a lovely reception in the See House with great food and other refreshment and fellowship and wonderful gifts. And it was all lovely and Whew! It’s done.
Ordinations and wedding: momentous events
And in this morning’s Gospel reading we hear of one such event as retold by John
Jesus and his disciples and his mother Mary have all been invited to a wedding
Now there is a lot to wonder about in this story
We could wonder how Jesus and the disciples and his mother are connected to the two families involved
Were they related to either of the families or perhaps friend of one or both?
Were the families wealthy? Or was this affair going to strain the family’s finances
In their culture, wedding celebrations lasted a whole week long. That’s a lot of food and wine.
There’s other things un-said in this story that sort of hang all around the peripheral
For example, I wonder about Mary – she’s a guest at the wedding – she’s not in charge of anything – like the supply of wine, for instance.
And yet she takes notice – she is alert to a need
They are going to run out of wine before the celebration is complete
Now this may seem a small thing to us in our day and age and culture – but I think in this situation it would constitute a disaster - a huge embarrassment on the host family at the very least - and certainly a dark cloud over the celebration and perhaps a lingering shame for the two newlyweds who are beginning a new life.
So Mary turns to her son Jesus – this son of who she has heard amazing things foretold about – even before he was born
She has pondered all these things in her heart as she watched him grow.
Jesus has a special ministry – this she knows – and he knows it too
And we hear this little exchange between them
“They have run out of wine.”
“Woman, what has that to do with you or me? My time has not yet come.”
Now theologians and scholars have been wondering about the meaning of that conversation for over 2 thousand years
Is Mary a pushy mom? – is Jesus a reluctant God? I don’t know, and I’m not going to resolve it this morning – sorry.
But if Jesus was a little hesitant – I can relate!
It took a few nudges to get me going on the pathway to ordination
And I suspect that some of you have had situations in your life when you kinda- sorta – thought maybe – you wanted to do, go, be … something – but ………
And someone gave you a nudge – and you were grateful for it
Thank God for the “Nudgers” in our lives
But the important thing is Jesus took action – after Mary took action
What was it she did? Did you catch it? She recruited help.
She turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever he tells you.”
And we know the rest of the story.
He tells them to fill the six jars that are nearby with water.
They fill the jars to the brim
He has them dip some out and take it to the person in charge of the wine service
And everyone is amazed – the water is now wine
And not just wine -- but the best wine - EVER!
But I wonder
Was that it? Just water into wine? Now I admit, that is amazing in its self – I can’t do that. But is that really it?
I don’t think so
Jesus took potential disaster and brought joy
Jesus took scarcity and turned it into abundance
Jesu took simple actions and transformed their outcome
Jesus took a seemingly simple situation and displayed the limitless love of God
And there is one more thing I wonder about.
The scripture passage ends with “…he revealed his glory and the disciples believed in him.”
Well, that’s good --- we’d expect that. But what about those servants? We know nothing about them except that there were more than one. Maybe there were two or maybe six – one for each jar.
But they knew where the wine came from.
What did they believe?
What did they do with that knowledge?
And whatever happened to them?
Where are they? --- Oh, I think I know
When we respond to: “do whatever he tells you”
We too, are dipping into our jar of new wine – the wine of God’s limitless love - and sharing it with others
In many seemingly smalls ways
Helping to feed the hungry – clothe and shelter those without
Sharing time with one who needs the presences of a caring soul
Speaking up and taking action on behalf of those oppressed and who have no voice
Being alert to the needs around us
Small things - but small actions can spread and grow and always make a difference
So I wonder, what are we serving from our jars today?