The Second Sunday after Epiphany; Year C (1/17/2010)

Lessons:     Isaiah 62:1-5      Psalm 36:5-10 (8)      1 Corinthians 12:1-11      St. John 2:1-11

Prayer of the Day:      Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people.  Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

2.1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”

St. John 2:1-11 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

It was a wedding – just an ordinary wedding. Not that there was anything ordinary about a wedding in first century Galilee. For some of those small towns, a local wedding could be the social highlight of the year. The whole community would wait in anticipation for the event. And what an event it was. Hardly the afternoon and evening that we experience in our day. Back then, a wedding celebration could last as long as a week! Bride, Groom, extended family, friends and assorted townsfolk would gather day after day to feast, to dance, and to start the young couple’s life together with a great celebration.

It was a wedding – just an ordinary wedding. But this one went awry. Half way into the party (Could it be that John means to tell us the wedding celebration was three days into a week’s worth of festivities?) the servants came forward with devastating news: the wine had run out. Did a hush fall over a crowd? Did the guests begin to whisper to one another, wondering what the host would do? Did someone approach Mary, Jesus’ mother, and tell her that unless someone was able to produce some wine, this wedding wouldn’t last much longer?

It was a wedding – just an ordinary wedding. Jesus and his disciples had no doubt attended simply to spend some time with friends and family. But Mary spoke to Jesus: “Son, they are out of wine.” His first response was to brush her off. But she knew better. “Stay close to him,” she said to the servants. “Whatever he tells you – do it.”

It was a wedding – just an ordinary wedding. But in the midst of it, something extraordinary took place. Jesus performed the first of many signs John will remember for us. He had the help fill up six empty water jars. Water jars that had been set aside for the Jewish ceremonial washings that were central to an orthodox wedding celebration. Water jars that symbolized all that was sacred about the Hebrew traditions. Water jars that had been blessed and meticulously maintained. It took 180 gallons of water to fill them. But when the water lapped up at the rims, it was discovered what Jesus had done. No longer filled with water, those jars held the finest wine. “It is remarkable,” the steward said, not even knowing what he was saying.

And he was right. At this ordinary wedding, it became evident that Jesus of Nazareth was no ordinary person. Instead, he was a remarkable man: one who had within him a transforming power. Power that he used to transform water into wine and provide for the need of the whole wedding party and then some. Power that he would use to transform his disciples from a group of rag tag followers into fearless evangelists. Power that he uses today to make of us a bold and faithful people, sent into the world to continue his work.

It was a wedding – just an ordinary wedding. But also the scene of a remarkable sign – a sign that proclaims still today that our Lord is one who has the desire and the ability to work transformation in our lives.


David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What did Jesus’ mother expect him to do? (Had she see him perform miraculous acts before?)
  2. What does it mean that tools for Israel’s ceremonial life were transformed into containers of new wine?
  3. What might his disciples have believe about him after this first sign?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What aspect of my life leaves me feeling like the wine has run out?
  2. How might the continued presence of Jesus in this world make a difference for me?
  3. How has God worked through my friends in faith, or the church, or the scriptures, to transform me when I couldn’t transform myself?