Monday, March 18, 2013

Jesus Takes Us to a Wedding

Like most of the stories in John there's more than just a good story going on;  through the stories we are drawn into the mystery of Jesus. This is peculiar to John, and why I am enjoying it so much these days.

Today I am thinking about one of my favorite stories in John: The Wedding Feast in Cana, when Jesus changed the water into wine. In it we witness not just Jesus' first miracle, but more importantly we share in his first sign. The sign points beyond the thing itself to a reality of something far greater and more important, something new, better, fuller and more joyful.  

How many of us long for such in our lives!

Remember there are six stone water jars containing huge amounts of water for the purification rituals that fulfilled the legalistic requirements of the Mosaic law.  So they represent the Law, which isn't a bad thing (most can realize the value of boundaries). It's just that Jesus has come to bring the world - all of God's creation - something better.  Jesus changes the water of the law into the wine that saves a wedding about to be drained of life and life to the full (Jn 10:10).

Jesus fuses water that cleanses and purifies with the wine that brings joy and life, bringing together water and Spirit (think about Jesus' baptism by John in the Jordan, about his conversation with Nicodemas soon to come in chapter 3)

What I find particularly interesting today about the Wedding Story (tomorrow it might be something else) is that this comes on the heals of Jesus calling his first disciples, which means that this is the very first thing that Jesus does with his disciples in John.  He takes them to a wedding.  Of all the things we might suggest Jesus do with his disciples at the beginning of their journey together, this probably is not one of them.  

But how perfect, really.  

The sign becomes more than just water being changed into wine; it also becomes a moment to experience the future to which God is drawing all creation. A future that can begin now in such moments of joyful celebration in the everyday, perhaps ordinary, events here on earth where God's Spirit is present.

Marriage Feast at Cana,
Paolo Veronese, detail

We delve into John's Gospel every Sunday morning in Knowles Cafe.  Find out more.