The Second Sunday after Epiphany; Year C (1/20/2013)

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. 9When 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.

A Sign to Remember

I’ve been to a wedding or two in my day. They are all unique. Some involve elaborate ceremonies, and some not. Some are held in unusual settings, and some not. Some feature exquisite banquets, and some not. Some involve hundreds of people, and some not. As varied as these celebrations are, it seems that there are always one or two aspects of the occasion that stand out as remarkable. The wedding where the beloved dog brings the rings up the center aisle. The wedding where the bride and groom are whisked away in a helicopter after the reception. The wedding where a traffic jam keeps the assembly wondering if the bride will ever show up. The wedding where the groom’s father sings a solo. The wedding where the unity candle refuses to be lit. The wedding that begins, to the assembly’s surprise, during Sunday morning worship…

Jesus and his disciples, along with his mother, once attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In many ways, it was like many other weddings that took place in Cana. The community was there to celebrate with the couple. The bride and groom and their families followed the customs and traditions of the day. The rabbi had kind words to say about the couple, and hopeful words to say about the future they would share. And, as is the case with many weddings, there was something remarkable about this occasion — although not something that the bride or the groom or their parents were hoping for. At some time during the celebration, “the wine gave out.”

You can imagine, in a time and place where weddings often are the social highlight of the year, how important it is for everything to go just right. From the preparation, to the ceremony, to the hours of celebration that would follow, the community’s perception of this day would be added to the family’s reputation, and follow them for some time to come. When the steward approached the family and announced that the wine had given out, it must have elicited a moment of terror. We will be remembered, for years, as the family who ran out of wine!

Yet in this case, that was not to be. This wedding would be remembered for years to come — for centuries to come, actually — but not for the family’s lack of preparation. This wedding would be remembered for the sign that took place on that day; the first of the signs that would point to the glory of God that was present in Jesus of Nazareth. There would be many signs to follow, but this first one was the beginning of something completely new. It was the beginning of the disciples’ understanding of who Jesus was, and what he had come to accomplish. It was the beginning of his introduction to the world, not just as the son of Mary, but as the Son of God. It was the beginning of God’s revelation of the New Covenant: that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world, all people were being invited into a new relationship with God.

We don’t hear how the bride and groom or their families responded when this sign took place in the midst of their special day. The scene quickly shifts to Capernaum, and then to Jerusalem, and we never hear of them again. But they are to this day remembered by all who know the scriptures, as the ones who were witnesses to “this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee.”

It seems that there are always one or two aspects of a wedding celebration that stand out as remarkable. Thanks be to God for the uniqueness of this day!


David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What must the wedding party have felt when they found that the wine had given out?
  2. What must Mary have been thinking when she pressured Jesus to do something?
  3. What did the disciples “believe” about Jesus because of this sign?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. How does this story shape my impression of who Jesus actually is?
  2. What signs have I witnessed, that indicate God’s presence in my life?
  3. How might my own faithfulness become a sign to others?