A Sure and Certain Sign - Reflections 1-14-2022

Texts for Sunday January 19, 2022
Second Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11

The Gospel this week is from John, slipped into this year of Luke because it, along with the visit of the Magi and Jesus baptism, make up the traditional “big 3” manifestations of Epiphany. In John, this is the first of seven signs that reveal who Jesus is and what is his mission here.

The sign? Jesus changes water into wine at a wedding feast at Cana. This is his first public act in John - water into wine.

According to John the seven signs “reveal his glory” (v.11) so that people will believe in Jesus and receive life (John 21:25). Where do you see “glory” or “life” in these verses?

I prefer the spectacular swoop of the dove and booming voice at Jesus’ baptism, and the political intrigue and deception of Herod by the Magi come from afar. I can see glory and life there. Water and wine just don’t feel that spectacular. The later signs in John include healings, feeding 5000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish, and raising Lazarus from the dead. Now those are impressive!

How is God made manifest in your life?
Are you looking for a splashy manifestation? Or a subtle one?

Just sit with this story a minute. It might grow on you.
In chapter 1, John talked about Jesus bringing “grace upon grace”. Where do you see grace in this story?

The story points to the coming arrival of God’s new age, the great feast at the end of time. The fine wine is a clue. And the amount of wine is a clue. And that great feast at the end of time is often called a wedding banquet. At Cana, six giant stone containers of water becoming “good wine” show God’s abundance and God’s generosity – It is God’s invitation to party hearty and be happy!

One big jar full of wine would have been enough, why then six?

Robert Brearley writes about this text: "God does not want our religion to be too holy to be happy in". Have you ever felt the bible or church are too holy to be happy?

Note that this first sign is not as “public” as say the feeding of 5000 (which, by the way, also demonstrates the abundance and generosity of God). But do note the people who are in on the mysterious transformation: the servants. What a wonderful parenthetical statement – though the servants who had drawn the water knew. The parentheses get at the other part of Jesus’ mission. He is here for “the least of these” …. for servants, not the guests of honor. 

That is a sure and certain sign of his ministry and mission.

How can you turn water into wine for the least of these?

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245