Summary: A sermon for the second Sunday after the Epiphany
2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
"A young couple, who were new Christians, suffered a terrible financial setback due to a disabling illness of the husband. The wife found work, but her income barely made a dent in the mountain of bills. They lived in constant prayer, praying that somehow they would be given the strength and courage to live in this brokenness. They prayed for deliverance, they prayed for a sign of hope and they prayed with hope that somehow there would be a light at the end of this long tunnel!.
One day they had no food. No one knew that their refrigerator and cupboards were practically bare. During the day, an uncle arrived carrying two bags of groceries and boxes filled with canned goods. After he finished carrying them in, he sat down at the table and said, "I don’t know why, but I just felt that you could use these things " They thanked him, hugged him and he left with a smile on his face and a promise in his heart that he would check in on them again real soon."
John says in our gospel lesson: "This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him." A sign is something addressed to the senses to attest the existence of a divine power. A sign points to God’s glory among us. A sign uses elements of our world to point to God’s presence, God’s glory among us. A sign, water to wine, a sign, bread and wine, Jesus’ body and blood, a sign, water, cleansing, new birth, a sign, groceries coming out of now where. God’s signs of his presence are all around us. As God’s children, God has been signing us, showing us His presence, showing us his presence among us in many different ways.
Our gospel lesson is the first of these signs of God’s presence through Jesus in the world. A most confusing sign changing water to wine, but never-the-less a sign pointing to the glory of God . Jesus was attending a wedding, which in his day was a major festival. The bride and groom would return to the groom’s house after the brie! ceremony and celebrate with their friends as long as a week. During the celebration, the wine ran out. Mary, being a friend’ ofthe family found out and depending upon her eldest son as she usually did since Joseph died, goes to him with the problem. His response on the surface may seem abrupt, and rude, but it really isn’t because the English doesn’t translate the Greek or Aramaic very well. I don’t know what Mary thought Jesus could do? Maybe find some more wine, maybe try to substitute something else. But she turned to Jesus for help, Jesus answers "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." A strange answer, but on further examination, not so strange. The word woman is translated better, lady, or dear woman, a sign of respect and honor. The rest can be better translated, "Don’t worry; you don’t quite understand what is going on; leave things to me, and I will settle them in my own way."
Jesus knew his hour, had not yet come. He knew it would be awhile before he would die. He also knew he must live his life to God’s will and direction. And so to begin that process of showing people God’s plan, God’s salvation, God’s redemption in the world, he takes an embarrassing situation, no wine and turns it into a time of joy and happiness. He redeems the situation. Now wine was used in Jesus’ day as an acceptable drink because the water was so foul. But drunkenness was not acceptable. Each drank in moderation.