This week’s reflection comes from
Synod Vice President Thomas Madden
The Second Sunday After Epiphany
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
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5Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
7How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
10O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!
Alleluia. Jesus revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. Alleluia. (John 2:11)
John 2: 1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
I’ve recently been making my own wine starting with juice pressed from viniferous grapes. The grape juice comes in six-gallon containers which, when all is said and done, each produce about 27 bottles of wine, or 4½ bottles per gallon. Contemporary winemaking methods, developed to speed the process, consist of at least five steps and require a minimum of nine weeks to transform the grape juice into wine ready for bottling. Even so, the bottled wine should sit undisturbed for six months to a year or more before it becomes good wine, ready to be enjoyed.
So, according to John, the miracle at the Cana wedding in an instant produced about 6-jars x 25-gallons/jar x 4½-bottles/gallon = 675 bottles of wine! That must have been some wedding party!
But who were the witnesses to the miracle itself? Not the bride and groom, nor the party host, nor the guests-they were simply happy recipients of the good wine. It was the servants, whose lot in life was to attend to and clean up after the privileged, who witnessed the miracle and to whom Jesus revealed himself. The servants were no different from the lowly shepherds who were the first to be told of Jesus’ birth, nor from the women, second-class citizens of the day, who were the first to be told of his resurrection. Jesus revealed himself to those whom society might rather ignore or cast aside-those who had little or no hope.
Yesterday as I had breakfast at the local diner, a vagrant woman who’s been around town for years entered and walked right past me toward the counter in back. I didn’t see what took place there, but in mere seconds, as she headed back out the door, I noticed her stuff something wrapped neatly in a napkin into her coat pocket. Jesus revealed himself again in that little miracle.
Water into wine? Baptism to the Cross? That is the miracle.
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people.”
Thanks be to God!