February 16th Meditation
The steward said to the bridegroom, "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." John 2:10
Our Sunday school lesson this week is on the story of the wedding at Cana. Jesus and his disciples were at this wedding along with Jesus' mother and the host ran out of wine. Gasp! Mary suggested that Jesus do something about that. One wonders exactly what she had in mind? We do know that this was a problem for the host family and probably meant the party was over. The lesson for our Sunday school kids is one of abundance with the focus on the miracle of turning water into wine.
I would rather focus on the party.
Too often, Christians get a bad rap for being party poopers. The Christian faith has too often been reduced to a sense of guilt and not being "good enough." Throughout Christian history, the focus has been on what we must give up: no dancing, no drinking, no card playing. Really? Card playing? C'mon, I love a good game of Euchre.
There is a wonderful scene in Steven Spielberg's movie "Amistad" where a church group visits the Africans who are being kept in a jail and give them all Bibles which they cannot read because they do not speak English. One of the men asks another why these "Christians" look so sad. Looking through the pictures in their new Bible they decide it must be because the leader of their religion was killed. My guess is there were no pictures in those Bibles of the wedding at Cana.
Honestly, if the Christian faith was all about what you can't do, I would probably be rather dour myself. But then I remember how Jesus was at a party that ran out of wine and he kept the party going.
Yes, this is a story of abundance. But it is also a story of the celebration of joy that comes with the kingdom of God. Being a person of faith and living a life of discipleship is MORE THAN giving things up and denying oneself joy. It is remembering that God wants every one of us to enjoy the fullness of life through the abundance of God's kingdom. The Christian life is a life of abundant health, abundant relationships, abundance in filling our deepest needs. As more and more people realize this abundant life the greater the joy for us all.
Tomorrow, of course, is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the season of Lent. This is often a somber and dour season where we "give something up" and focus on repentance and self-denial. But it is balanced against today which is "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras, and in many places and in normal times it is quite the party. That balance is important.
We all need a little repentance now and then and the occasional dose of dourness. Sin is real and infects and affects us all. But we also need to remember the kingdom of God is a celebration, often portrayed as a banquet feast, and the life of faith should also be filled with joy. Today, celebrate your faith. Rejoice in God's goodness. Maybe even have a paczki and a nice glass of water and know that God loves you and wants you to be happy!
Worship This Week
Facebook Live, Sunday 10am
Lent 2021: The Story of Jesus in Mark
In-person worship in the sanctuary will resume Sunday, March 7, at 10 am. Wear a mask, follow safe distancing and please stay home if you are not well or have been exposed to someone with the corona virus.
Keep In Prayer:
Mary Robinson, Mary Wallen, Don Long, Alvin Shelley, Dee Kuhlman
Our shut-ins: Kate Shelley, Dot Ann Smith, Nora Smith, Helen Payne