January 17, 2016: 2nd Sunday after Epiphany

Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we rejoice over the fact that You are in total control of our lives—not just in the “big issue” areas, but also in all the finer points, as well. That means You’re not just with us when a baby is born, a marriage is begun, or a death occurs; but also with us when we eat breakfast, brush our teeth, haul out the garbage and pump gas. Lord, that’s a huge comfort! And it just goes to show that You really meant it when You said: “Never will I leave, never will I forsake you.” Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR LOVING SAVIOR

TEXT: John 2: 1-11

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

Well, the Powerball fever has subsided—for the moment. The politicians in Washington are done with their latest bout of self-congratulations known as: The State of the Union address. The stock market gyrates up one day and down the next. The NFL playoffs are bouncing TV ratings. And winter has finally come to New England. The ordinary has once more invaded our lives. Living an ordinary life is kind of nice. It means you don’t worry—too much, your stress level stays in a static low, and you sleep a little more soundly. It also means that God is busy and active—keeping you out of trouble. Isn’t that what most people long for—living their lives in rest and quietness, with just a bit of the extraordinary around the edges? After all, experiencing an adrenaline high 24-7 burns you out and brings on a lot of pain when you finally crash.

Our lesson, which outlines Jesus’ first miracle at Cana, is tender, loving, compassionate, and shows the blessing of having an ordinary life with a bit of the extraordinary thrown in for good measure. Think about it. Jesus and His disciples are invited to a wedding in Cana. His mother, Mary, is there too. Apparently one of Christ’s cousins was being married and Aunt Mary and Jesus were given invitations. Because of Christ’s rise in prominence, the disciples are included.—The more the merrier. Like most aunts, Mary pays attention to the behind-the-scenes goings on. She discovers that the wedding wine is about to run out. This will cause consternation to the bride and her groom and bring shame on the family. We all know how tempermental brides can be about their weddings! Also, remember that wedding receptions in those days lasted a week, so the guests drank wine (remember the water was suspect) during that time. The usual format for this was to give out the great wine first and by the end of the week use up the so-so stuff. Everyone did it and hoped no one would notice! But to run out meant all the festivities would end too soon on a sour note—literally. So, Mary asks her Son to help.

His answer to her seems a little off-putting: “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not get come.” But, like any good mother, she knows her Son and His kind heart. So, she ignores His tone and tells the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”

I

I really like this text and always have. It reveals an intimate side of Biblical life and the intimate heart of Christ. In the big picture of procuring the eternal salvation of human beings by God’s Son dying on a cross to save them eternally—well, this seems a bit innocuous. Here Jesus is concerning Himself with the small, the minutia of life. We often think of such things as beneath Christ. We often imagine He’s too busy with “big stuff” to help with the little stuff that makes up the bulk of our lives. But this lesson shows that He’s not!

Well, you know what happens next. Jesus quietly turns about 150 gallons of water in the best wine that any human ever tasted—after all, God Himself made it! The party is saved. The family honor remains intact. Everyone is happy. And the chief steward sums it all up in that comment to the bridegroom: “but you have saved the best till now.”

II

I realize that the chief truth of this lesson is that Jesus is truly the Son of God. For only God can engage in miracles. But, that’s not the only point. For the Christian, the best is yet to come. In fact, because of Christ’s love for us, the best always awaits. Of course, that “best” is heaven. Likewise, each day is one more moment of our existence in which Christ can trot out the best and shower us with its blessings. A good night’s sleep is mundane, but it gladdens your heart. A hot shower is glorious, even though most take it for granted. I always feel better when my paper arrives early instead of late. A brisk walk with the dog fuels my psyche and my creativity. Yes, in the ordinary events of life comes the extraordinary. God gladdens our hearts with all those little things so that we can cope with the tough stuff and keep our blood pressure within reason.

I purposefully have avoided talking about all the grotesque events and issues in our modern world which weigh us down every day in this sermon. Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of using up my life thinking about the madness of modern man and his mockery of God’s glorious plan for our lives. I much prefer to focus on the simple, the ordinary, and because of Christ’s love—the sublime blessings that we reap every day. This text reminds us of all that and more. So, “give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever!” Amen