Summary: The Church is the best party in town.
“Celebrate Good Times Come on!”
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, pastor of Grace UMC, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
This is a day of celebration!!!
This is a day of new beginnings!!!
We have spent the last month learning how to create a shared Vision for Grace United Methodist Church…
…this Church which we love…
…this Church which we want to see succeed, and not only succeed, but thrive beyond measure!!!
We want this Church, and through this Church—this community to be able to bask in the superabundance of Grace that Jesus Christ offers!!!
What better passage of Scripture, then, is there than John Chapter 2:1-11—where Jesus performs Jesus’ first miracle—which happens to be turning water into wine at a wedding celebration?
There are so many layers to this most famous event, it is difficult to know where to start.
So let’s start by reminding ourselves that a Vision is a solution to a problem.
In order for a Vision to stick it has to be memorable…
…people don’t embrace paragraphs, but sentences.
It’s better to have a Vision statement that is incomplete and memorable than to have one that is complete and forgettable.
And one thing I didn’t mention last month is that a Vision needs to be celebrated regularly.
In our case, this should be every Sunday—if not every day!!!
I’m a bit excited.
How about you?
This is God’s party.
We have been invited.
And here we are!!!
It’s exciting to go to partys is it not?
The church should be the most exciting place to be!
It should be like coming to a party!
The best party in town.
There are certain religious people who seem to shed gloom wherever they go.
They are suspicious of all joy and happiness.
To them, religion is a thing of black clothes, the lowered voice and lots and lots of rigid rules.
It’s good to know that Jesus never counted it a crime to be happy.
So why should Jesus’ followers do so?
We are to be a joyful, laughing, happy, festive people!
God did not create us, and redeem us to live in doom and gloom!
God created us to be part of God’s party!!!
So let’s celebrate these good times together, come on!!!
I don’t think it’s any accident that Jesus’ first recorded miracle is at a party where Jesus turns plain old water into a superabundance of wine!!!
Through this, I believe God is saying to us, “cheer up!!!
I am not a kill-joy!!!
Actually, I am the complete opposite.
Don’t be hard on yourselves; don’t be hard on one another.
I’d imagine that Jesus, His disciples and Jesus’ mother were pretty excited to have been invited to this raucous wedding party!!!
Who doesn’t want to have fun?
But when Jesus and his group get to the party, the wedding guests are already drunk…but the wine was gone.
The party was about to become a drag.
The master of the banquet was about to be embarrassed, everything was soon to come to an end.
Doom and gloom was already beginning to set in…
…Jesus showed up.
And isn’t that how it is in our lives as well?
Doom and gloom come to our doorsteps—threatening to ruin our party…
…and then Jesus comes by to change all that—miraculously change all that!!!
And in a radical way, indeed!!!
The best is yet to come for this church—because Jesus is coming by to work miracles in and through your lives!!!
Great things, sign and wonders will happen at Grace United Methodist Church!!!
This family of faith is about to experience a joy and happiness…
…a contentment and superabundance of God’s grace more than we ever thought possible!!!
You want Grace to Rock?
Jesus wants this even more!!!
It will happen.
And creating a shared Vision is just the beginning!
It’s just the beginning of the good and new!
So Jesus gets to this party and the wine is gone.
It’s kind of like walking into a church where the joy is gone, and a deadness and sad feeling is creeping in that everyone is soon going to have to fold up things and go home.
But Jesus is saying “No! The good stuff hasn’t even begun to happen yet.
The party has yet to begin!
The best is yet to come.
You all have been drinking on the cheap wine—check out the new wine I will give you.
You will party till I return, yes, till I return!!!”
For a church to be effective, it must have a celebratory tone.
And for a Jewish feast, wine was essential!
“Without wine,” said the Rabbis, “There is no joy.”
There was no more wine at this wedding party, but “nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.”