The locale of Jesus’ first miracle is a party, a wedding, with wine at the center of the action. Scripture dares to place God’s abundance in a festive setting here, not a mountaintop vision or a sermon on the plain. The wedding at Cana invites the reader to expect God’s activity even in the details of raucous human celebrations that aren’t strictly “religious,” like a noisy wedding reception.

Momentous news penetrates the scene. Jesus declares a mission focused on a family much larger than his immediate one. He also makes it clear that his hour has not yet come. For the time being, he turns attention to the matter at hand—a lack of wine at a crucial moment in a teeming social occasion. He extravagantly transforms the six massive jugs of water into wine. It’s the good stuff, and it’s more than anyone needs—the modern equivalent of about nine hundred bottles.

It’s usually explained that these verses carry symbolic meaning about Jesus’ cosmic nature: The miracle is a symbol of God’s power, and the wine foreshadows the Last Supper and Easter drama to come. To me the force of Cana has much to do with the earthy details amid laughter, hospitality, and carousing. This story didn’t have to be told. It didn’t have to appear in a Gospel in order to make the case for Jesus’ unique relationship to God. Yet here he is, at leisure with his friends, the heavenly will of God bisecting the sweet traditions of a wedding.

I know people who feel alienated from religion because they think the Christian message is judgmental or joyless. I hope they’ll take another look at the Gospel of John and crash the wedding at Cana.

Gracious God, thank you for the Christ who made his way through earthly celebrations and storms, facing trial, death, and new life, never turning us away. May we find our own discipline and compassion, never turning others away. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 2:1-11

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Lectionary Week
January 10–16, 2022
Scripture Overview

Popular conceptions of God sometimes mislead us. Messages coming even from within Christianity sometimes make us think that God is constantly angry, just waiting for us to slip up. This week’s readings remind us of the truth. Isaiah teaches us that God delights in God’s people just as a groom delights in his bride. This love, the psalmist proclaims, is steadfast and never-ending. The life of Jesus shows us that God even wants us to have a good time in this life. Jesus chooses a wedding as the place to perform his first sign. He multiplies the wine in order to multiply the enjoyment of the guests. Paul in First Corinthians speaks of spiritual gifts. These gifts are all given by God for the good of the entire community.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Isaiah 62:1-5. Recall a time when you have flourished and a time when your life was far from peace and order. How did you feel God’s delight in each situation?
Read Psalm 36:5-10. When have you felt God’s light or taken refuge in the shadow of God’s wings?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. How can you use your God-given gifts to complement others’ and to support the common good?
Read John 2:1-11. How do Jesus’ miracles help you to understand his identity as the Son of God?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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