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The Wedding

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Epiphany 2: 18 January 2004
"The Wedding"
The Rev. Philip R. Taylor
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 36:5-10; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2:1-11

John 2:1-11. 2On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there,2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited.3And they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the feast had all been used, and the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.'4Jesus said, 'Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not come yet.'5His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.' * 6There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons.7Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water,' and they filled them to the brim.8Then he said to them, 'Draw some out now and take it to the president of the feast.'9They did this; the president tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from-though the servants who had drawn the water knew-the president of the feast called the bridegroom10and said, 'Everyone serves good wine first and the worse wine when the guests are well wined; but you have kept the best wine till now.'11This was the first of Jesus' signs: it was at Cana in Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

Some thirteen years or so ago, a friend of mine and I were invited to sing at the wedding of a mutual friend. The song we chose to sing as the table was prepared for Communion was a song entitled "The Wedding." Michael Card wrote both the music and words.

Lord of Light, oh come to this wedding; take the doubt and darkness away.
Turn the water of lifeless living to the wine of gladness we pray.

Mother Mary's gently requesting that You might do whatever You can.
Though she may be impatient, she loves You; and so she asks what she can't understand.

Lord of Light, oh come to this wedding; take the doubt and darkness away.
Turn the water of lifeless living to the wine of gladness we pray.

So amidst the laughter and feasting, there sits Jesus full with the fun.
He has made them wine because he is longing for a wedding that's yet to come.

John has inserted this rather incredulous story of water being changed into wine between the calling of the Disciples and the cleansing of the temple. Some say that the placement of the various Jesus stories in the Gospels is mere happenstance. I choose to believe that is probably not the case. What if John were telling us that first, we are called and choose to follow, and then we are changed as the ordinary water is changed into extraordinary wine, and finally we are to join with Jesus in His confrontation with the hypocrisy and false religion in our midst. Certainly, John's Gospel is not all symbol and metaphor, and certainly, it is not all literal. However, one can be sure that the truths and learnings available to us in John are many layered and boundless.

Someone once told me that symbols were humankind's attempts at translating the unknown or the mystery into something we mere mortals might be able to understand. John gives us some powerful word symbols and signs here in this passage. The ordinary is changed into the extra-ordinary. The mighty power of God is often surrounding us even as we journey through life experiences like a marriage ceremony.

The plea of Michael Card's song is for the 'Lord of Light, oh come to this wedding.' We all want our lives to be lightened up. However, most of us may not be ready for how much light and change would be brought if our Lord were to show up as a dinner guest, with His mother and a bunch of fishermen.

Weddings are where we make promises. Weddings are where we seek God's blessing. Weddings are where we begin new lives. Weddings are where we start new journeys. Let me suggest that not all wedding experiences are in chapels, churches, or magistrates offices where two lovers are joined as one. The weddings of our lives happen more often than that. Whenever we make solemn promises, seek God's blessing, begin new lives, and start out on fresh journeys, we are doing the wedding thing.

My prayer for Epiphany and beyond is that I will invite the Lord of Light to each of my wedding experiences and rejoice when the ordinary things of my life are changed by Christ's presence into the extra-ordinary 'wine of gladness.'

Every month or so, when I am able to worship at a particular church nearby in Apex, NC, I see the couple for whom we sang Michael Card's song, "The Wedding." I see the love they have for each other, the love of their children, and I am once again reminded of the power of Jesus to change water into wine.


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