1/27/2018 0 Comments
"Will the Wine Run Out?"
Rev. Tina Walker-Morin
Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC
January 14, 2018
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable to you O God, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
This morning I have a message about abundance.
Today’s scripture is the famous “Wedding in Cana” passage. So I found some wedding puns just for you…Jim and Danielle, even though she is back with the children:
Did you hear about the two cell phones who got married? The reception was terrific.
Two florists recently got married. It was an arranged marriage.
Marriage is becoming more and more progressive. I hear two scoutmasters decided to tie the knot.
Do you know why the King of Hearts married the Queen of Hearts? They were perfectly suited to each other.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's been a very emotional day. Even the cake is in tiers.
Weddings, it is at a wedding where we encounter Christ today. This is at the very beginning of his ministry. He has just called his first four disciples, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael, and they are now all at a wedding with Jesus’ mother Mary. While at the wedding the wine runs out. It is presumed that the wedding was likely for a relative of Mary’s and that is why they are all gathered.
Mary is very astute and understands the shame and humiliation of running out of wine. When Mary sees the situation unfolding she immediately points it out to Jesus. Now some believe she alerts him because she knows that her son is the Messiah, others think she tells him about the shortage of wine so that he and his “tag alongs” can leave reducing the number of guests or maybe she is alerting him because he is the “man” of their family and should do something about it since presumably Joseph has died and is not present. As we just heard Jesus informs the servants to fill the stone water jars with water and take it to the head waiter. To which the head waiter declares it the best wine in the house.
Upon seeing this sign the four new disciples of Jesus believe. This is the first of seven signs Jesus performs in the Gospel of John. The others being the healing of the royal officials son in Capernaum (John 4:46-54), the healing of the paralytic in Bethesda (John 5:1-15), the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:5-14), walking on water (John 6:16-24), the healing of the man who was blind from birth (John 9:2-7) and the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45).
Now notice I say signs instead of miracles. This is intentional for a couple of reasons: first, we are in the season of epiphany and after Christmas I thought a good theme for us would be “Looking for God in Unexpected Places”. Secondly, faith is about believing in something we can’t see, completely understand, or rationalize. I tend to over think miracles and try to pick them apart. As a nurse friend of mine used to say “I can relate to Jesus but these miracles, well I am just not too sure about that.”
When we see and hear of these acts as signs which point to, and illuminate Christ, we can leave our scientific questioning at the door and believe or know Christ better. So how does this sign help us on this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend know Christ better?
Our story is set in the gentile land of Cana where our Jewish Jesus with his Jewish friends have been contributors of running out of wine. There is fear in this story of not having enough; of running out. Perhaps Mary and/or the servants are even thinking had Jesus not brought these other four men, these outsiders, there would be enough wine to go around.
Fear and scarcity abound.
Does this sound familiar? Last week as I was away on vacation, I still heard the news with regards to immigration, Haiti, other African countries and DACA. DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals refers to the children of immigrants who were brought here undocumented as minors in then in 2012 were granted a renewable two-year deferred action from deportation and are eligible for a work permit.
There is a fear in American that these children and other immigrants are going to take away jobs, that there simply will not be enough jobs to go around. Here again we sense that fear that there will not be enough, just like in our scripture with reference to the wine.
We are afraid of the uncertainty and worried about earthly scarcity, instead of turning our attention to Christ and the Heavenly realm.
What if instead of worrying about what others might take from us, that there not being enough jobs or resources, we do as Christ did and invite more people to join us? And with the invitation we work to learn more about DACA recipients, immigrants and others?
Let me introduce you to Fidenico Fifield-Perez and educator and Artist from Galveston, TX. A high school teacher once told him that, “People like you don’t go to college.” Maybe you have had that happen before. I remember being told that students from my high school did not get Division I athletics scholarships (I proved her wrong). Fidenico also provide that teacher wrong, he was accepted to 7 colleges. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He said, “Every undocumented person I knew, other than my two younger brothers, dropped out either because it was expected of them or because a high school diploma meant nothing for the jobs to which they applied. I remember being told to get a job that paid under the table and to keep my head down.”
DACA legally allowed Fidenico to drive and to work without fear of being deported. As an artist he was able to display his work nationally and internationally at exhibits, as well as graduated from college and then graduate school.
Lastly Fidenico states, “The moment I was smuggled into this country as the age of seven, my body ceased to be my own. DREAMers’ bodies have been debated, regulated, rounded up, and biometrically measured…”
Our country is afraid the wine is going to run out. Our country is also mad because Jesus and his followers are the ones drinking the wine in a land that is not their home. And how does Jesus respond? He sits in their midst and reveals to the lowly first (the servants) that when you are with him, when you are with Christ… there will be abundance.
Today, Christ’s sign for us is not about the changing of water to wine, but rather the realization to turn from our worries about “will there be enough” and trust that if we are travelling with Christ, there will be enough.
I see this happen over and over particularly in church. Last month in Waltham we had a Christmas service where we were serving communion. Having only expected half-dozen or so people to join us I only prepared enough communion for 15 or so. Then people kept coming in and sitting around our table. In the center where I had set the communion elements, I began counting the little cups full of grape juice hoping we had enough and worrying that I had not prepared enough and that we would run out. And just as Christ was in Cana, he also was with us in Waltham and there was plenty of communion to go around.
Well, I don’t have any other puns to share in closing. So instead I will leave you with the last verses from the Gospel of John: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31).
May your faith be abundant,
All sermons posted are written by Rev. Tina Walker-Morin. All rights reserved.