Second Sunday after the Epiphany

by Crossings

John 2:1-11
(Second Sunday after the Epiphany)
Analysis by Robin Morgan

1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it had came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

DIAGNOSIS: Party Poopers

Step 1–Initial Diagnosis: Wineless
Why do they need more wine when everyone is already drunk? Perhaps because there is the fear that no one will stay around for the party when we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel (or the bottle). To be without wine is a crisis; but it is not the most obvious crisis at the wedding at Cana. In celebrating one of the Creator’s best gifts to humanity in the marriage of a woman and a man, the priorities of the party planners have become skewed. As wonderful as the creation is, as wonderful as life can be in the midst of the joy of such a celebration, the focus stays too much on the creation, and not on the Creator.

Step 2–Advanced Diagnosis: Lifeless
Will more wine bring additional life into this situation? Or is the lack of wine itself already a sign that the party people are really pooped out with life itself. Even putting on happy faces does not alleviate the crisis that is taking place in the heart. The celebration seems to be succeeding; but there is an inauspicious cast over the event. Nothing can retrieve us from the drunken stupors that we often substitute for life with the One who created us for Himself. Pointing this out is not intended to be a party pooper. If anything, it is to see that we are already too pooped to party.

Step 3–Final Diagnosis: Godless?
Our wineless and lifeless party does not mean that we are without someone or something to give us some kind of life–something we might technically call a “god.” That does not discount the fact that we seem to be God-less when the Creator leaves us to our celebrating far from the Heart of life where we were created to live and be. We might even prefer it that way. But if we thought the party had problems without wine, imagine what it is like when it only seems to be without God. The hard truth is that God is still there, even in our drunken blindness, with the divine judgment that will not tolerate our eagerness to place anything or anyone as a living substitute for God’s rightful and unique position at the center of our lives. Should we call God the Great Party Pooper by calling us to account? Maybe the Great Party Crasher. But we are the ones who are lifeless and fatigued (which makes us the party poopers here). We are the ones who have tried to cut God out of the party of his creation, only to find that God is still there, much to our dismay. Our crisis is much worse that we imagined.

PROGNOSIS: Party Scoopers

Step 4–Initial Prognosis: The Eternal Party Begins
Even though the party is in crisis, Jesus is in our midst. As the Word made flesh, the Word who was with God, he steps into this situation and transforms the water into the wine of new life. Jesus takes our crisis through his crucis (cross). Jesus is the New Wine, by which God’s love for humanity flows far beyond our paltry efforts to cleanse ourselves. That love flows through the One whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. The New Wine in Christ comes to party poopers and brings about the new and eternal party for which there is celebration without end.

Step 5–Advanced Prognosis: We’re Invited
And so we are invited to come join the party which God is throwing. Here the wine of new life invigorates through our faith in Jesus Christ. We are made alive to celebrate our God and Creator who has sent the Life of the party to make our joy complete. God “saved the good wine until now” so that we might see His glory and believe in him.

Step 6–Final Prognosis: Bring Your Friends
The bar is open, there is no cover–whoever will may come. This is not a closed party; we’re called to take it to the streets or the roof tops or wherever people thirst for new life. We are changed from party poopers into party scoopers: ones who have the inside story on a party that people won’t want to miss–a match made in heaven and on earth, a union with God, through the life-giving gift of Jesus who has more than enough wine of new life to go around for you, for me, for all. Party on!


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