Sermons 2007

"Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11

Home | In the Beginning was the Word, Christmas Day, 25 December 2007, John 1:1-14 | What's Missing? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007, Luke 2:1-20 | Joseph, the Forgotten One, Advent 4A, 23 December 2007, Matthew 1:18-25 | Come with Joy, Advent 3A, 16 December 2007, Matthew 11:2-11 | Darkness or Light? Advent 1A, 2 December 2007, Matthew 24:37-44 | What Kind of King is He? Proper 29C, 25 November 2007, Luke 23:35-43 | Predictions and the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Proper 28C, 18 Nov 2007, Luke 31:5-19 | Just passing through? Proper 27C , 11 November 2007, Luke 20:20-38 | Not like others? Proper 25C, 28 October 2007, Luke 18:9-14 | "We are bold to say", Proper 24C, 21 October 2007, Luke 18:1-8a | "The ten lepers", Proper 23C, 14 October 2007, Luke 17:11-19 | Proper 22C and Holy Baptism, 7 October 2007 | A taste of cool water, Proper 21C, 30 September 2007, Luke 16:19-31 | We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13 | "Lost -- but found!" Proper 19C, 16 September 2007, Luke 15:1-10 | "Who is coming to dinner?" Proper 17C, 2 September 2007, Luke 14:1, 7-14 | Doors and narrow gates, Proper 16C, 26 August 2007, Luke 13:22-30 | "Fire to the earth", Proper 15C, 19 August 2007, Luke 12:49-56 | "Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40 | "How much is enough?" Proper 13C , 5 August 2007, Luke 12:13-21 | "Lord, teach us to pray" Proper 12C, 29 July 2007, Luke 11:1-13 | "The Better Part?" Proper 11C, 22 July 2007, Luke 10:38-42 | The Good Samaritan -- the Summary of the Law" Proper 10C, 15 July 2007, Luke 10:25-37 | "Travel Light!" Proper 9C, 8 July 2007, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 | "Independence Day" Proper 8C, 1 July 2007, Luke 9:51-62 | "Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24 | "In or Out?" Proper 6C, 17 June 2007, Luke 7:36-50 | "On Grace", Proper 5C, 10 June 2007, Luke 7:11-17 | Trinity C, 3 June 2007 | Pentecost C, 27 May 2007 | "Unity and Diversity" Easter 7C, 20 May 2007, John 17:20-26 | "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" Easter 6C, 13 May 2007, John 14:23-29 | "What is this thing called love?" Easter 5C, 6 May 2007, John 13:31-35 | "Numbers and Sheep", Easter 4C, 29 April 2007, John 10:22-30 | Virginia Tech, Easter 3C, 22 April 2007 Revelation 6:8-10 | Thomas Doubter and Believer, Easter 2C, 15 April 2007. John 20: 19-31 | ""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10 | Good Friday 6 April 2007 | Maundy Thursday 5 April 2007 | Why are we not surprised? Palm/Passion Sunday C, 1 April 2007, Luke 22:39-23:50 | Party or Pout? Lent 4C, 18 March 2007, Luke 15:11-32 | To Stand on the Mountaintop, Lent 3C, 11 March 2007, Exodus 3:1-15 | "Ways Not Taken", Lent 2C, 4 March 2007. Luke 13:22-35 | "Liminal Thresholds and Lintels", Lent 1C, 25 February 2007, Luke 4:1-13 | Ash Wednesday Meditation 2007 | "Transfiguration and Transformation, Epiphany Last C, 18 February 2007, Luke 9:28-36 | "Weal and Woe", Epiphany 6C, 11 February 2007, Luke 6:17-26 | "Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11 | "Filled with rage!" Epiphany 4C, 28 January 2007, Luke 4:21-32 | "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us," Epiphany 3C, 21 January 2007, Luke 4:14-21 | "Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11 | Schism and Epiphany, Epiphany 1C, 7 Dec 2007, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Epiphany 2C 2007 John 2:1-11

I once read a children’s sermon which had this to say:
Surprises can be fun! What are some of the things that surprise you?
The sun coming up every single morning, day after day.
Seeing a red and gold sunset so bright and colorful that it almost takes your breath away.
Learning that a caterpillar comes out of a cocoon as a beautiful butterfly.
Having blueberry pancakes for breakfast when you expected cold cereal.
Receiving a letter from a friend.
Thinking about the size of a whale.
Receiving a gift that you didn't expect.
Knowing that your heart beats over 100,000 times a day. (1.)

To a child these things can seem like miracles. It was at the wedding at Cana that we traditionally say that Jesus performed his first miracle. But the Gospel of John treats it as a sign rather than a miracle. What’s the difference? A sign is a miracle whose meaning and significance is hidden. We know that this water into wine is a miracle and sign of the earliest manifestation of Jesus’ divine power over earthly matter – but the wedding guests, the steward, and the bride and groom did not.

Why does Jesus start out his ministry supplying wine for a party? Why not do something, well, a little more significant? Consider the situation: a first-century Jewish wedding in a village named Cana, just down the road from Nazareth.

Weddings there were an even bigger deal than they are now. There were no sports teams, television, movie theaters, or computer games. So weddings were the best things going for entertainment. And a wedding didn't last for a few hours. It went on for seven days –– seven days! –– and the entire community was invited. Wine was essential to these weddings.

And so the bridal couple ran out of wine in the middle of their wedding feast. Fifty years from now, when they celebrate their golden anniversary, people whispering, " They ran out of wine at their wedding!"

Mary notices when the last wine jug is emptied and tells Jesus to fix it. Jesus seems to be indifferent but Mary tells the wait staff to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. After all this woman has talked with an archangel and angels, seen the angles dance in the sky, been given gifts by exotic visitors from the East.)

When this joyous wedding celebration is about to crash into the brick wall of social disaster, Jesus acts. He tells the wait staff to fill with water a half dozen big stone jars and drag them over to the banquet manager. Curious about what's in the jars, the wine steward takes a sip. It's wine! Really good wine! Not the cheap jug sort that comes with a screw top, but the wine that appears on fancy menus at an outrageous price.

And isn’t it an odd way to launch a ministry? Or is it? First, what Jesus does is an act of compassion, meeting the needs of people where they are.

It also says something about the significance of marriage in the eyes of God. From the Book of Common Prayer marriage service: "The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding at Cana in Galilee." (BCP p. 423)

But there’s more. This story is a sign about life. Miracles happen. Signs of Jesus at work appear all around us. They happen whether or not we acknowledge them. They benefit us whether or not we notice them. Yet it's a joy to see these signs for what they are and believe in the one to whom they point.

What we think of as miracles are not weird exceptions to the orderly laws of the universe. They have the same origin as those laws. Indeed, they teach us the context of those laws. One commentator noted that "The miracles of Jesus were the ordinary works of his father, wrought small and swift that we might take them in."

And Saint Augustine: "He who made the wine that day at the marriage feast does this every year in vines. But we do not wonder at the latter because it happens every year; it has lost its marvel by its constant occurrence."

To grow in grace means to become increasingly aware that everything in life is a miracle, a sign pointing to Christ. As St. Basil says: "All the objects in the world are an invitation to faith, not unbelief." (2)

So, look closely, look carefully, and you will find the signs of Christ everywhere in the world. The best wine is all around us – we are awash in it.


1. Lois Parker Edstrom, 2007, SermonWriter for Epiphany 2C 2007

2.. Charles Hoffacker, 2007, in SermonWriter for Epiphany 2C 2007