Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sermon for January 17, 2010

John 2: 1-11
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

For a long time I just couldn't understand this passage.. I could not get past seeing this miracle as much more than a magic trick. Water to wine, keep the party going. Next maybe Christ would take some parchment, make a cone, and pour the wine into it only to disappear into thin air. Like the old magic trick kids learn.

Through frustration that led to prayer I began to find meaning in the passage. Especially the metaphor for the transforming power and abundant love that would come as a result of Christ’s reign on earth.

Just like the wine created from water was better than the best wine served at the feast and in such abundance the guest could not drink it all.

Christ would bring into this world a love more beautiful and fulfilling than had ever been known and in such abundance we cannot take it all in.

We learn from this story in John that the transforming work of Christ in us and in our world is not a given, it doesn’t just happen. The wedding story teaches us that we can only experience the glory of God if we invite Him into our lives. Had Christ not been invited to the feast, the guest would have simply run out of wine and gone home. Christ’s glory would not have been revealed to his disciples through the miracle of changing water into wine.

We must invite Christ in. If we want to experience transforming power of Christ we to must invite him in. not just once but every day. Just like the ministry and miracles of Christ do not end at the wedding in Cana, Christ’s miracle of transforming our lives does not end when enter into relationship with Him. On the contrary, the beginning of the relationship is just the beginning of the transformation. It is just beginning.

Following the wedding story in John is the story of Christ clearing the temple of the money changers and merchants. Not only does Christ have the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, the water into wine, but Christ’s presence in the world radically challenges the political, religious, economic, and social systems of the 1st century. The question for 21st century Christians is will we allow Christ to use us to challenge and transform the religious, political, economic and social systems of our time.

If we invite Christ with us as we live and work in the social, economic, political, and justice systems of today, radical change is not a possibility but a certainty.

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