1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.”
4 Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.”
5 His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby were six stone water jars used for the Jewish cleansing ritual, each able to hold about twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter,” and they did. 9 The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.
The headwaiter called the groom 10 and said, “Everyone serves the good wine first. They bring out the second-rate wine only when the guests are drinking freely. You kept the good wine until now.” 11 This was the first miraculous sign that Jesus did in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
12 After this, Jesus and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there for a few days.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where, for some reason, everybody winds up getting married. Every summer for about 3-4 or so comes a barrage of what feels like about 4,000 weddings, and you have to go to every one of them. Not that that’s a problem; some weddings are quite awesome. In fact most of them are pretty cool. However, everything about weddings is exhausting.
For example, previous to each wedding, you hear from your betrothed friends how much time, planning, energy, and money goes into the wedding, and by the day comes, they are more than likely just relieved that the day is finally there and the planning stress is over. Additionally, weddings and the subsequent wedding receptions take a long time, and a lot of energy as well, if you’re doing it right. What with all the dancing, and eating, and entertaining relatives, and keeping that one kind of creepy uncle who you had to invite away from eating everything on the cocktail weenie table, and so on.
At the same time, weddings are really cool. It’s the beautiful union between two people who really and truly love one another, who want to commit to one another, and enter into a deeper and more fulfilling covenant for the rest of their days. For a moment in time, we make space for love to be the central focus of life. In that way, we make space for God to break into our lives in a powerful and glorious way.
|We also somehow make room for awesome guitar cakes in our stomachs after filling up on finger food.
That whole “God breaking into our lives” thing is waaaaaaay too tangible in the Wedding at Cana. True, Jesus and the disciples were invited, but I’m pretty sure they thought they would get a chance to enjoy things, and spend some time off the clock. And then Mary showed up, and had to bring business in the the party.
|The BVM: The original Buzz Killington.
I love Moms, but they do have a tendency to remind us to clean our rooms at the most inopportune times. One day, I hope to be exactly the same way to my kids, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Mary putting Jesus in charge of the wine problem is one of those classic sit-com setups that never gets old. However irrelevant and untimely the problem may seem to him, though, Jesus’s response with a sign of his divinity, producing ridiculously delicious wine from water, is perhaps one of the most famous of his signs. It also reveals something about the relationship between us and Jesus.
The metaphor of the church as the Bride of Christ has very direct connections to this story. So does the idea that the Kingdom of God is like a wedding feast. There’s a sense of celebration in the revelation of Jesus in this way, that the joy of union with Christ is a much bigger party than anyone other than God could have thrown. As such, the union of the Bride and the Bridegroom remains one of the most powerful images of the church.
Romanus Melodus had this to say on the subject:
When Christ, as a sign of his power, clearly changed the water into wine
All the crowd rejoiced, for they considered the taste marvelous.
Now we all partake at the banquet in the church
For Christ’s blood is changed into wine
And we drink it with holy joy,
Praising the great bridegroom,
For he is the true bridegroom, the Son of Mary,
The Word before all time who took the form of a servant,
He who has in wisdom created all things.
(–Kontakion on the Marriage at Cana 7.20)
As Christ changed the water into wine, so does Christ change us from sinners into the redeemed, from brokenness to wholeness and holiness. I pray that I can better live into this redemption and transformation, and that I can in turn be made holy.
(PS: That guitar cake was the groom’s cake of the other Nerdcore Theologian, Will Flora. And it was delicious.)