Summary: Jesus and the miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding of Cana.
What Do You Do With 180 Gallons of Wine?
February 12, 2005
It is two days before Valentines Day and I thought that it would be a good time to focus on marriage this morning. This sermon didn’t come without some real discussion with myself. I debated whether or not to speak about marriage because I realize that there are those in this congregation who are not married. We have single people here. We have people who have lost their spouse through death. This sermon may not impact everyone here today.
But I realize that not every sermon touches every person. Not too long ago, I had a couple of different comments about a particular sermon I preached. One person told me that it was exactly what was needed that day. That person told me how satisfying and helpful the sermon had been. Another person wondered if I had taken leave of my senses. According to this person, the sermon made no sense and the worship service was a complete waste of time.
I wondered if I had preached two different sermons that day. And in fact, I had. Oh, yes, the words were the same, but the reception was different. God was working in the heart of at least one person in the room that day. Somehow, the Holy Spirit allowed me to speak to one particular need. I am always amazed and humbled by that.
There were other folks in the room apparently, who didn’t need to hear the sermon. The Holy Spirit was working differently in their hearts that day. There may come a day - I hope – when the roles will be reversed, and the people who received nothing that day will come away with at least a glimpse of the way God is working.
I say that as introduction because I know there are people here today who may find that this sermon doesn’t apply to them. Toni and I had a long discussion this past week about this. On Thursday she conducted a funeral of a woman in her congregation and she asked me what I would do if that were me and the husband showed up at church today.
I said that I would probably begin by acknowledging the existence of pain, loss, and heartache. We preach to people who have lost their spouses, who are divorced, or who have never been married. That is reality. It hurts. It often brings despair. But I would also point to the God who hurts right along with us, the God who heals, and the God who understands our pain.
Even though we might not understand, I would point people to God who loves us enough never to leave us. I would ask people who are single, o single again to relax in the promise of the love of God. But I hope that we all can marvel at the miracle that is marriage, hold it up for celebration, and rejoice with those for whom it is real.
Ask any preacher about funny things that happen in parish ministry, and he or she will no doubt tell you a wedding story. Fairly early in my ministry, I officiated at a wedding which I still remember. Most weddings I have forgotten, but not this one.
The processional music was playing, I had come in with the men, the bridesmaids had made their way down the aisle, and even the flower girl had come down with no problem. But as the processional music ended, there was still no bride. So the organist began the music again. Once again, it ended and there was no bride. I was starting to get a little worried, so I left the bridal party at the altar and walked back to the church’s narthex to try to find out what was going on. There I found the bride’s mother frantically trying to pin her daughter’s wedding dress back together. The zipper in back had split all the way down from top to bottom. I told them to take their time and get it fixed because we would wait for them. When I walked back down to take my place, the groom had a look of pure horror on his face. I whispered that things were fine and we would carry on in a minute or two. And we did. The rest of the ceremony went off without a hitch, but I know that they still talk about the day when the zipper exploded.
My sister got married back in the early seventies over at Forest Park United Methodist Church. One of the groomsmen was from Goshen. When the guys started to get dressed for the ceremony, he discovered that he had left the pants to his tuxedo back home. There was no time to drive the 120 mile round trip to retrieve the pants, so they went ahead anyway. There in all of the wedding pictures is Jay with his green and yellow plaid pants.