Mary Saves the Wedding
Weddings never cease to be a problem. When Nan and I were married in August of 2017 I wondered how many people would come, would we have enough food, would I have enough, but not too much, wine and beer? Everyone who ever planned a wedding has, I am just sure, nightmares about something going wrong with the occasion. Weddings are one of those occasions where there are multiple layers of meaning. The pledging of love, mutuality, and fidelity are crucial aspects of a Christian marriage. All of this is done in a communal setting and in sight of God. It is the most serious and holy commitment two people can make to one another. Yet there are other aspects to a wedding: it is after all a celebration of the love and is a time of communal joy. You don't need a Prince Harry and a Meghan with a Bishop Curry preaching to understand that. I love how John deals with this wedding. Jesus is only in his third day on the job. He had spent the first two days picking his core group and on the third day they are off to a wedding , along with Jesus's mother, who is never named in John's gospel. In this story no one save Jesus is named at all. It doesn't matter that the wedding couple are anonymous. What matters is that weddings were then, as they are now, an occasion to pull out all the stops and to celebrate like there is no tomorrow. I notice that happens more than once in the Gospels. There is a lot about meals and feasts and being in companionship with folks of all sorts. Feasting is important. The kindom of God does not seem to be miserly. Yet in the "real world" there is no end of hunger, even starvation, and at the same time people dying from an overabundance of food of all the wrong sorts. Food "haves and have nots". So what is so special about this wedding? Turning water into wine is not the high point; it is not really the miracle. The key point and the main actor in this play is Mary, Mary the subversive mother of God, the Theotokos. I love the way she says with all confidence, "They are about out of wine." Clearly she trusted that her son would be able to take care of the problem. Trust, or faith if you will, in God. The miracle is the complete trust of Mary and that she was willing to ask, to reach out. Without Mary asking, there would have been no water to wine at Cana. But she did ask. And because she did we have the first "sign" that Jesus did. God does not ask us to bow down in raw, naked fear; God asks us to worship in Holy Fear, which is awe and wonder and celebration. Cana teaches me that God is eager to bring us to a place of abundance, to a place where all have not only what they need, but the best of everything. That desire for grace comes from us and God responds. Even Jesus waited to be asked. For the community to which John was writing this Gospel, love and fellowship were the key elements. He tells us, through the words of Jesus, that God has come to us with everything that we need but that we must respond. 1. I am the bread of life. 2. I am the light of the world. 3. I am the door of the sheep 4. I am the good shepherd . 5.I am the resurrection and the life 6. I am the way, the truth, and the life . 7. I am the true vine. Unless we acknowledge that what God wants is to have a relationship of love with us and in turn for us to love each other, we miss the entire Gospel. Faith is open to everyone, regardless of any humanly defined status. We are one in Christ and we are one as Christians. But God will not act unless we do. What if Mary had not said, "They are almost out of wine"? We would not know that the best wine comes from God and that the best of everything comes from God. It was not a miracle that was performed by Jesus; rather it was a sign that showed the incredible abundance that God has for all of God's people. If it's not love, it's not from God. Cana grace for all of us here and for all of us to share.