Summary: Answers from a Great and Generous God
I want to tell you a story this morning - a story that really happened. It happened some time ago, as you`ll come to realise. It happened to a young widow to a young widow called Mary. Mary only had her widow`s pension to live on, plus a little extra for work she do at home whilst she tried to look after her young family.
One Friday evening she discovered a large rent in her oldest boy`s jeans. She tried to patch them, but after a while she realised that the material was too thin and too worn for that.
What was she going to do? There was no money for new ones.
That night she prayed to God. "Lord, it may be a very mundane thing to pray for, and I know you have greater things to attend to..... but John`s jeans won`t last out any longer, and I know that the children at school will laugh at him if he wears jeans with great patches and holes in them.......... Is it possible to have a new pair Lord"..........
and then, she said later, it was as if a warm voice just behind her said: "Child - I`ll show you whether a little boy`s needs are too unimportant for me to trouble with!"
On Monday Mary dressed the children for School - John in his patched jeans.
And then the postman came.......... There was a letter from her mother with a £5 note in it, "To buy John a new shirt as I forgot to get him one at Easter as I promised".
They were all delighted. Surely Granny wouldn`t mind if it were a pair of jeans rather than a shirt....... she`d go to the shops as soon as she finished the housework.
BUT SHE DIDN`T NEED TO! Later that morning a parcel arrived at the door, containing a pair of jeans! The note said, "I was in Manchester yesterday at a sale of work, and I thought of John, and posted them right away".
Now, believe it or not, jeans came almost literally flooding in. By the next week-end Mary had received 5 pairs from friends all over the country who suddenly felt compelled to send them. Some were new - some were ones their own children had grown out of.
But there was something more that excited Mary, more than the quantity........... each of them was just a little bit bigger than the last.......... John was catered for for about three years to come.
The GREATNESS of God`s grace, and the economy of it were the things that made Mary marvel. After that she lived her life by Prayer, taking as a literal command St. Paul`s words, when he said, "In everything, with praise and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."
We heard a similar story in this morning`s Gospel - Jesus invited to a wedding at Cana in Galilee. A young couple filled with joy and excitement at the beginning of their married life. But catastrophe threatens! The wine begins to run out! What`s to be done to save their reputation - will they be tagged for ever with the terrible title, "The couple whose wine ran out at their wedding". They`d be the talk of the village!
But Jesus`s mother turns to her Son, as she always does when things go wrong. "They have no wine", she says. And though Mary, like the other Mary in my story, had no idea what God would do, and even when it seemed that He had refused her request, she still believes in Him so much that she turns to the serving folk and tells them to do whatever Jesus wants. And He, God in human form takes water and turns it into wine.
I went to Cana some years ago, and the shops in the village were still selling it - wine I mean. "!Get your Cana wine here!" they said. Some of our coach party bought that wine, said that it was plonk! Jesus` wine was far better than that - it was the BEST wine - probably the best vintage the world has ever known. And 180 GALLONS OF IT! As William Barclay points out "No wedding party on earth could drink 180 gallons of Jesus wine" - so why did Jesus do it? Why 180 gallons of wine when far less than that would do? The Apostle John tells us why: "Jesus did the first of His signs at Cana in Galilee AND DISPLAYED HIS GLORY - and His Disciples believed on Him".
Jesus was showing some truths that no-one had seen - truths about Jesus, and who He was.
Truths about God and how He is to us. He was telling us that God loves us.
He was telling us that God responds to our needs, and there isn`t a one of us too simple or too humble for God to respond to.