The Wedding Feast at Cana--
We can easily imagine this wedding—either from weddings we’ve known in our own lives or from movies and stories of other weddings--
Families and Friends rejoicing in the good fortune of the happy couple to have found each other and fallen in love--
A joyful celebration with food and music and dancing--
Importantly, at the time of Jesus, no wedding feast was complete without wine.
Fruit of the vine, work of human hands--
wine is a symbol of God’s abundant provision for us through God’s creation--
The presence of wine at the wedding feast in Cana is extremely important--
It is not used as a numbing agent for the guests—or as a social lubricant--
Nor is it a luxury--
Wine is essential for a meaningful and complete wedding feast--
Wine makes holy—somehow—the wedding feast--
Jesus performs his first sign—his first miracle—at a
And very human gathering—a wedding feast
The wine has run out—and Jesus turns 180 gallons of water into wine—
A lavish display of God’s abundant provision—a miracle that allows the wedding feast to continue--
Just when people wondered if the party was over—or began to worry that God’s blessing on this newly married couple wasn’t sufficient--
Jesus turns the water into wine--
He keeps the feast going--
And, isn’t it marvelous that our Jesus--
the one we seek to follow
and to love makes himself known to us at a party--
And it’s not just any party
It is one of the most important celebrations in the human community--
A celebration of love and union between two people--
A public rejoicing of a unitive love
A love that burns bright and shines for all to see--
Marriage reflects the goodness of the human person--
our potential for a creative faithful love
rooted in intimacy and friendship and service--
How curious—Jesus revealing himself at a wedding--
The Gospel of 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.”
The public ministry of Jesus begins as an affirmation of creation, and joy, and love and the union of one person to another.
It reminds me of the creation story: “And God said: It. Is. Good. It is very good.”
It is as if from the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus points to us and, echoing our Creator, says: It. Is. Good.
You. Are. Good.
Creation. Is. Good.
Love. Is. Good.
Let it continue, Jesus seems to say.
“And, let me be a part of it all with you and for you--
Let us keep the feast together.”
In this miracle, Jesus seems to say to the wedding guests and to us: “Take this wine. Drink of it. Let the celebration continue. Keep the Feast.”
And I wonder, can we imagine a God whose love is like
Love Like Rejoicing
Can we imagine a God whose love is a
lavish--abundant-- merry making – dancing – party – feast keeping - kind of Love?
As we move away from Christmas and through this season after Epiphany we are going to continue to hear stories about how Jesus carried out his ministry on earth--
We will hear of healings and miracles and conversions--
Of the disciples and the believers--
And stories about the doubters and the haters--
Soon we will be in Lent--
Immersed in the suffering and passion and death of Jesus--
But, in a way, all of it—points back to this wedding feast in Cana--
To a gathering around bread and wine and the promise of faithful love and service rooted in friendship--
To keeping the feast just when everyone thought the party was over--
And, I wonder, how do you imagine yourself in this story--
Like the water turned into wine —a sign of God’s abundance and blessing in the world—?
Like the vessel that holds the water turned to wine--
A living vessel carrying God’s abundance and blessing into the world?
Where do you see the Church of the Transfiguration in this Gospel lesson?
Like the wedding couple--
A bright light of love and unity—of friendship and care--
shining in the world—a witness of faithfulness and service?
Perhaps we are like Mary--
pointing to Jesus
witnessing to His power
Mothering others into discipleship and belief--
As we rest in this season after The Epiphany—let’s stay with the image of a wedding feast--
Let’s keep wondering how to keep the feast—the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine--
How to turn the fear of scarcity into miraculous abundance--
Let’s stay with a Jesus who loves us--
who wants to be with us at a party—a joyful celebration of union--
May we stay with Jesus—a fully human and fully divine Jesus—who celebrates with us, and desires for us fruitful lives marked by profound and lavish abundance of God’s provision.
Let us Keep the Feast.
The Rev. Anne K. Ellsworth
Epiphany 2, Year C
My Sermons (and other thoughts)
a sampling of sermons preached in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and a sprinkling of other writings