Summary: A sermon on being encouraged through life's disappointments by the power of God in Jesus Christ!
Weddings! Barbara (our organist) has likely played at more weddings than I’ve ever performed, but I know she and I probably have some wedding nightmare stories to tell, if we could tell them. We might have to change the names to protect the innocent. If you know me, I like to start on time. One wedding that I officiated years ago was running twenty minutes late, and appeared to be far from starting. Whom were we waiting on? The mother of the Bride! Remember, the mother’s were supposed to be seated in the five minutes prior to the start of the wedding! I finally gave her a “Five minutes, we are starting in five minutes!” She said “I’m not ready!” I said, “But the 200 invited guests are”. We seated a still disheveled looking mother, and began. “
The setting for today’s text is a wedding. A wedding at Cana of Galilee. We know little about the wedding. We don’t know who was the bride and groom. We only know that Jesus and his disciples were there, and so was his mother. We don’t know why they were there, or how they knew the bride and groom, simply that they had been invited. The wedding would have been an event drawn out over several days and quite a celebration. At some point they ran out of wine, and Jesus’ mother decides to intervene and she calls upon Jesus.
Mary says to Jesus “They have no wine”.
Jesus responds “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come!”
Mary tells the servants “Do what he tells you to do!”
And then Jesus obviously responds “Fill these jars with water” and they do, and not only are they turned to wine, but it is the good wine, better than had already been served by the host. Usually the host served the good wine, and then when the partiers were too imbibed to know the difference the cheap stuff was brought out.
Can you imagine the exchange between Jesus and Mary? Now obviously this is my take
“Son go on and do what you are going to do!” (go motion with hands)
“O Son! You know what you were born to do!”
“It’s not my time!”
“Remember what I always tell you “Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today!”
Scholars suggest (NIB, Vol. IX, pp 536-537) that this discourse is not “rudeness”. Jesus commonly greets women with the phrase “Woman!” Her words do “carry an implied request” and it shows both a familial relationship, but also Jesus start of “disengagement” towards his mother as he directs himself towards ministry of the Kingdom. It is no doubt a similar thought when in another story Jesus says “Who are my mothers and brothers?” (Mark 3:33).
At any case, Jesus turns water into wine, and it is the first of seven miracles that the Gospel of John re-counts. And the question is, what is the purpose of this first miracle as it relates to the Kingdom of God? In the text John tells us “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him”. Certainly it reveals his power. But compared to miracles like restoring sight to a blind man or healing a withered hand, just what purpose is this first miracle.
Let’s look at the setting again! A wedding! A big celebration! The time of your life! The last thing anyone wants to happen is for something to go wrong! And right smack dab in the middle of a good plan, they run out of wine. Probably can’t run down to the local drive through for this one. The family had spent a long time planning and gathering the wine, plans and preparations, decorating, inviting, sewing dresses, sprucing up the backyard for the reception and suddenly a servant runs in and says “We are out of wine”. Disappointment begins to set in.
Sometimes our life plans gets interrupted by life’s disappointments.
Sometimes our plans get interrupted by life.
Someone runs in “The space shuttle Challenger just blew up”. “A plane just flew into the world trade center”. “Mother has just passed away”. “There is an earthquake in Haiti”. “Johnnie just left Sally, I heard they’re getting divorced, and life’s disappointments set in.
This isn’t what I planned, we should have had wine to last until next week!
In a Calvin and Hobbs comic the young Calvin is saying “Life’s disappointments are harder to take when you don’t know swear words”. I could change that and say “Life’s disappointments are harder for a Christian, because we stopped saying swear words”. When I used to golf at Carrizzo Springs, TX with a man named Poke Mills, he would tell people we were golfing with “When the Pastor here makes a bad swing he can’t say swear words, so he just rolls it around in his mouth and then spits, and it kills the grass”. And then he would add “And look how bad his game is”. Of course, in drought ridden Carizzo Springs “all the grass was dead”.