The wedding has begun

Dessert Table at Megan's Wedding


John 2:1-11

1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee.

I am not ready to move on to next Sunday’s texts. The story of the wedding at Cana still lingers in my mind.

During the sermon yesterday I commented in passing on the difficulty of preaching from the Gospel of John. The reason is that the Gospel is so wonderfully rich. No story is a single story; they all interconnect. No image stands alone; there are layers upon layers of meaning. It is a single collage of a hundred images, not a photo album of a hundred pictures. And while I recognize the difficulty that creates for preaching, it is wonderful for abiding in a text.

If John only wanted to tell us that Jesus had magic hands and could turn water into wine, it would have been a much shorter story. But that is not his purpose. The message is not that God can do wondrous things – that is something we all know. The message is that God has done the wondrous thing above all wondrous things in this Jesus; God has brought the wedding feast to us.

We are not told to go gather grapes to make wine. We are not told to plan and hope. We are not told to create the wedding for ourselves. The wedding has come. The union of heaven and earth; the reconciliation of two realms long divided is at hand. In the midst of our sorry world, there is wine beyond compare. In the midst of our regrets there is grace. In the midst of our tired bones there is dancing. In the midst of our sorrows there is song. In the midst of our rubble there is new creation.

All that is good – eternally good – has come among us in this Word-made-flesh incarnation of all God’s creating, life-giving, self-revealing speech. The Word that brought forth light shines in Christ. The Word that blessed all creation, blesses us in Christ. The Word that spoke freedom to those in bondage, speaks freedom to us in Christ. Let all creation sing and dance; the wedding has begun. The new wine is poured out in overflowing abundance.

I love the kinds of movies that capture your thoughts for days and insist on being talked about. This story of the wedding in Cana is such a vision.

My daughter married last year in Sonoma, and through the process of the planning I had to learn what was meant by a destination wedding that took place over days rather than an hour in church and a few hours after at a reception. This was a time of picnics and dinner with friends and breakfast with other friends and lunch with new friends and a dessert table of many goodies rather than a single wedding cake.

And so it is with John’s Gospel and this story of the wedding at Cana. It requires far more than one fifteen-minute sermon. And so it is with the wedding feast that has begun in Christ. It is not one Easter day, but an Easter life.


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