2 Epiphany
The First Miracle at a Wedding in Cana of Galilee

The Rev. Mary Grambsch

     Here we are at the Second Sunday of Epiphany, after a very hectic four weeks.  We have been through;

Advent – the four weeks before Christmas: a time of anticipation and waiting for the birth of Jesus.

Christmas – a season of the church year lasting only 12 days long: a time of joy and wonder, music and celebration, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings has been born in Bethlehem, in a very humble fashion indeed.  God has come down to earth and has been born as a human being to be like us, to be our brother.

Epiphany – begun on January 6th and celebrated as the Visit of the Magi, the Wisemen from the East, to the Christ Child, bringing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, royal gifts for a new King.

The Season of Epiphany, runs the next 5 weeks or so, and is often called the Season of Light.

The reason the Season of Epiphany is called the Season of Light is that in the birth of Jesus Christ a new light of hope and love is shining in our world.  The Prophet Isaiah writes, “Arise, shine, for your Light has come, and the Glory of the Lord has shone upon you – Arise and Shine”.  This is the same shining Light that St. John wrote about in his gospel, “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.”

This Light of hope and love shines in a world of hatred, warfare, disease, pain, hopelessness and despair, the world of the baby Jesus so long ago and our world today.  It also shines in each of our hearts; in places of happiness and love in our lives, yes, but also the Light shines in the hurts and disappointments, the discouragement, envy and dark, mean thoughts of our lives.  Christ’s love is not only for the sweet, lovely parts of our lives.  Christ’s love shines into the darkness of our hearts and gives us strength and courage to be better people, to lay aside all those dark thoughts and impulses and to become People of the Light, God’s own people.

All of the Gospel lessons we shall hear in the Season of Epiphany have to do with Jesus showing the Light of God’s love into the world.  Today’s reading from St. John’s Gospel tells of Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding in the town of Cana, in Galilee.

Miracle stories, especially in John’s Gospel, are meant to be signs to us, to tell us something about the true nature of God; signs that point beyond the story to God and God’s relationship with us. A miracle is never the end of the story, and we are not to get caught up in the wonder and glory of the miraculous act itself.  The miracle is the sign pointing to the real story, not the story itself. 

For example, if all of us went over to East Broadway and got on one of the buses going to Washington, DC, and when we were part way there, the bus pulled over at a road sign saying “Washington, DC  50 Miles.”  We would not all get off the bus to admire the sign, and say how beautiful the sign is and how glad we are to see it, and now we can all go home because we have see the sign.  That would not only be ridiculous, but we would never get to Washington, DC.  The sign is not the end of our journey itself, but it does tell us something about our journey; we know that we are on the right road to Washington, DC and that we should be there soon.   

Miracles are signs that tell us something about God.  What does the Miracle of changing water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee tell us about God?

Jesus is at a wedding feast with some friends and family members, most notably, his mother.  The wine at the wedding reception runs out, and Jesus, after some persuading by his mother, performs a miracle and changes jars filled with water into wine.  It seems fairly straightforward - where is the sign in that, what truth about God does this story show us?

One truth pointed to in this story is that God is present, not only in the grand and glorious state occasions, but also at a home wedding among friends and neighbors.  I love the fact that Jesus’ first miracle happens in a home, and at a party.  The opening of his ministry, after his baptism did not happen on a grand stage, but among those closest to him and a humble setting.     

Another truth is that God’s abundance is full and overflowing.  The fact that water became wine is amazing, but more so that it became very good wine, in fact, the best wine served.  God’s love and care for us is not only more that enough, but it is also full, rich and deep.  God’s abundant love keeps flowing into our lives, most especially at times when we feel most in need of being loved and cared for, when we feel watery and thin.  However, we have to be willing to taste that rich fullness of God’s love, to understand that a watered down love is not what God offers.  We have to be willing to read the signs in our own lives that point to God’s presence and love for us.

In this Epiphany Season, the Season of Light and Miracles, we should ask ourselves,

  1. How is the Light of Christ’s love shining in my life?
  2. Where do I try to hide from the Light of Christ and refuse to see the signs of God’s love in my life?
  3. Do I feel joy and peace in my life because I know, no matter what, God is present and that I belong to God?
  4. When I come to my church, do I see the signs of God’s love here, in large and small ways?
  5. How can I learn to see the signs more clearly?
  6. What can I do to strengthen my faith and share Christ’s love in my home, my neighborhood, my workplace, my church and in the world?

These are all Epiphany questions and a good place to start in the new year of 2010.

It is my joy to be with you in these next weeks of Epiphany, and I hope to ask these questions of myself, and to encourage and help you to ask yourselves these questions, to build a deeper relationship with God.  With the Father who created and claimed you for his own, with Jesus Christ, The Light of God’s love, who redeemed you and brings you close to the Father, and with the Holy Spirit who guides, strengthens and empowers your life in God.  AMEN.