Sermon – 01-16-22 – Epiphany 2 – Cycle C
Scripture: Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 36:5-10; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2:1-11
Sermon Title: “How Important Is This Event?”
Son, do something for this wedding family! The wine has been consumed! It is not time to end the party. Mom, what do you expect me to do? I have not received any authorization yet to perform miracles. I don’t know how they work. I know that I have been baptized. I know that the Father has announced quite eloquently that I am his Son. But I honestly do not know how to do anything to bring more wine. The vineyards are closed for the day. What do you expect me to do?
Well, Son, I have an inkling that your time has arrived! Why don’t you ask for jugs of water and see what happens? So that is what Jesus does. There is no mention of any special words or hocus pocus. Yet, when Jesus asks the servants to draw some water from the jugs to show it to the chief steward, the water is no longer plain water. The chief steward declares it to be superior wine. Can you imagine Jesus staring at the wine and wondering how did it happen? I imagine that Jesus may have had some questions for the Father after that.
The newly called disciples are accompanying Jesus at this wedding feast. They have been invited along with Mary and Jesus. This may be their first experience of amazement. “Who and what is this person we find ourselves following?” they are probably saying among or to themselves? “We don’t even know why we are following this person called Jesus. There is something mysterious about this man. Why did we accept his invitation to follow him? We left everything. We left our livelihood – our ways of earning a living. We left our families. Can you imagine what our wives and parents are thinking? What kind of model are we for our children?”
The disciples continue with their remarks. “Well, today we witnessed something almost as surprising as our following him. Who would have thought that water could become delicious wine without a strange word or action? Are we supposed to ask what this has to do with us? Are we just supposed to drink this superior wine when it is offered without asking Jesus to explain it? Maybe we are just supposed to watch and learn instead of asking questions.”
The bridegroom at this wedding feast must be astonished at this news coming from the chief steward! The scripture does not give a clue what the bridegroom said or did. In John’s telling, the next thing we know is that Jesus is off to upset tables in the temple.
What about us? Are we able to put ourselves in the scenario? First of all, have we given up everything to follow Jesus? We may have ignored our spouse and children for our careers or worse. But have we left our careers to follow Jesus? Blessed are we if we could take Jesus into our work places. Better still if Jesus was in our workplaces and he called us to join him there.
Have we been blessed to witness something like the water being turned into wine. Were we afraid to tell anyone about it? Maybe we needed to process it first. Or at least, that is what we used as our defense for not sharing the experience immediately to the first person we met.
How important are these miracles in our lives? Returning to the scene in the town of Cana in the area called Galilee, we don’t read that anyone but a few people witnessed or even learned what happened. Did the chief steward ever learn how this superior wine appeared in his work domain? Did the bridegroom care by this time? Whose party was it anyway? Did the parents of the bride and/or bridegroom pay for the original wine? Way too many questions? We don’t know who knew.
I am glad to know this occasion because Cana of Galilee is imprinted in my mind as a delightful place. Many hymns we sing reference this event in Cana of Galilee when the ministry of Jesus was just beginning. It is doubtful that the Father created this event just so you and I could sing about it. Then again, maybe so! Songs are the best way to be reminded and to remember occurrences that may have seemed insignificant but in the repeating of singing words to music, events find a place in our hearts and minds where we can turn them round and round and with each turn God speaks to us and unravels them to reveal the truth that is uncovered and processed.
Think about these ideas. First, it is one more example of the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Second, this superior wine reminds me of the superior Jesus. It seems that all the events and teachings of Jesus lead to his passing through life on earth to return to the Father. The culmination is his lowliness, his “leastness”, when he hangs on the cross. His own best wine happens when he once again returns to the Father. Jesus passing through earth served to teach us about the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. But teaching is not the ultimate experience. Jesus hung our sins on the cross. What a burden that was!
Jesus and the Father want us to be free of our sins; free so that we can use our talents unhindered for this world of people, animals, plants, creatures so tiny we cannot see them; use our talents unhindered to establish stability of the world in climate, in governance, in human relationships between all people. What if we stand before a problem and say “my time has not yet come?” What if someone stands along side and says, “I think this is the time for you to start. I think your time is now?” What if a good deed needs doing? What if you are gifted to bring peace to a school board meeting? What if you are gifted to change a waterway so that water becomes productive where it is needed? What if you can softly sing to someone who is dying? What if we know how to bring peace to a bipolar person? What if we know how to make a classroom be a loving place? Maybe you are just the person God gifted to bring peace to our governing bodies. What if?
What if we are missing these opportunities because we are afraid to risk failure, because we don’t want to spend the energy or time? What if we are the person who can hold our finger in the dyke to prevent a flood? If I can grab a child who is about to accidentally run in front of a moving car, that is my gift at that very moment. I don’t need to be trained. Will I watch that child and say, “My time is not yet come.” Or will I hear a voice saying, “I think you time is now!”
There is a land of delight waiting for us. It is reinforced in Psalm 36:5-10. Read about the river of the Lord’s delights. We heard it in Isaiah 62. In your electronic version of your bulletin, click on the link for Isaiah 62:1-5. We are invited, our friends are invited, our country is invited to gather in a place of delight; in a world of love. Is this not to be? Must we wait for eternal life? Did Jesus wait until he was back in heaven to do the work of the Father? Remember the wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee! “I have an inkling that your time is now,” said a voice.