3rd Sunday of Epiphany 22.1.12. The Glory of Good Wine

8 01 2012

The Glory of Good Wine

The season of Epiphany, like the opening of John’s gospel,  is about glory being seen and found attractive and compelling.  Here we see water changed into wine. It’s a sign – but somehow the word ‘sign’ does not quite do justice to what is being signfied here… For there are many layers to this story.

John 2. 1-11

2 On 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 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.

Reflections and Questions

‘The mother of Jesus was there’ v 2. Notice that she is the primary figure and that Jesus and his disciples are in the category ‘also’.  She is in control of events and is not in the mood to take ‘no’ for an answer.  Is it fair to say that Mary is the leader here, is that the right word?

‘They have no wine’ v 4  A nice simple statement.  No amplification is needed. No emotion added.  She just gives a simple fact of deficiency with the implicit: ‘do something about it!’  It is a statement about what is unacceptable. Does its simplicity and candour tell us something about her leadership?

‘Do whatever he tells you.’ v 5.   Fill the jars with water.’ v 7 Now draw some out…’ v 7  These are clear, concise, bold instructions. Like mother like son?  What tone of voice do you detect here?

‘You have kept the good wine until now.’ v 10. How many layers of meaning can you find in these words?

‘Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed is glory, and his disciples believed him’. v 11 This final sentence reflects the connection that we began to see last week between ‘place’, ‘glory’ and ‘faith’.  How do those three words fit together for you? (Idea: write them at the points of a triangle and see what comes up as you reflect on what you  see. What sort of triangle works best – equilateral, isosceles, scalene?  Or do you prefer to draw curving arrows between the  words and create a circle?)

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