Summary: It is time for new beginnings, a time for resurrection; a time for emptiness to be filled, a time of obedience and time for us to live by eternal time not ordinary time.
This week, in fact, next Sunday, Gene and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary….now grant it it isn’t as long as Marion and Mary Sue have been married but none the less it is still an amazing achievement considering….well enough said.
When we got married, we had a small simple ceremony at my parents home. Beautiful….mom burned a hole in my veil….the phone ringing.
It doesn’t matter whose wedding or who planned it whether it was your best friends mother’s sister on her father’s side or if it is a professional wedding planner. Sooner or later something is going to go wrong. That shouldn’t surprise us nor should it embarrass us. I mean after all we are only human and glitches simply disclose our humanity to the world.
This wedding was no different. The wedding takes place in Cana of Galilee. Today, Cana is a West bank town, populated largely by Arabs. As communities go, it is quite small and more than a little impoverished. Which is, pretty much how it was then. A wedding feast is going on but something has gone wrong. There’s a glitch. On the surface of things it doesn’t seem to be that bad thought it would have been a quite embarrassing to the groom and his family. You remember what has happened. They have run out of wine.
To run out of wine at a wedding in biblical times, though, was a tragedy. It was a horrible insult of hospitality, a horrible omen upon the blessedness of marriage for wine was seen as joy. It there was no wine at a wedding there was no joy in the union. It was so serious it was virtually punishable by law. It meant terrible things – this was a very real tragedy in the ancient world.
Jesus is at the wedding. He, like most men, doesn’t notice what’s going on… but his mother does! Mary is distraught something must be done to save this wedding from tragedy. “Jesus, son, we’ve got a big problem they have run out of wine. Can’t you just see Jesus rolling his eye, Mom…Woman, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.
Now I know I always say we should follow the example that Jesus has set for us in the Bible; but I don’t suggest to any of our youth here to use this response at home with your own mothers. Take out the trash. Woman, what does that have to do with me. My hour has not yet come… Make your bed. Woman…. Clear the table…Woman…if you do try this you may soon discover that your hour has come sooner than you had anticipated.
They have run out of wine. Woman what does that have to do with me. My hour has not yet come.
If you have read or studied John’s Gospel very much you begin to realize that whenever Jesus shows up in the story nothing is ever quite a it seems. There are always to levels to John’s stories. Ther is a right now level that deals withteh surface of things and there is an “obscure and subterranean” level that deals with the hidden meaning of things. With that in mind let’s take a closer look at this morning’s story.
Jesus’ mother says: "Look, son, they have run out of wine" (an observation that is readily available on the surface of things).
To which Jesus could have said: "So they have" ... or "We’ve had enough to drink anyway" ... or "We’re in luck, Mother, because we just passed a Merchant of Vino a couple of miles back." All of these would be appropriate "surface" responses.
But Jesus doesn’t say any of these things. Instead, he dips several layers below the surface and says: "Woman, what has this concern of yours to do with me? My time has not yet come." Which is strange, is it not? I mean it almost sounds like Jesus is irritated at her. Jesus does not call her "Mother" or "Mary." He calls her "woman." Suddenly it appears as if Jesus she is depersonalizing her. Suddenly she becomes nameless. Or is it that suddenly, at some deeper level, she is generalized? She is no longer one woman. She is every woman, man and child.
But it is also strange from the standpoint of "time." Why does Jesus say “time is not yet right." What does that have to do with anything? For John this is not a story about weddings ... about water ... or about wine. This is a story about time. John’s Gospel is constructed on two layers of time ... which are perceived as being the same time. There is ordinary time ... the time on your watch. And there is God’s time ... eternal time, heavenly kingdom time. It is as if you need two watches to understand John’s message, God’s word.