The following is a reflection on John 2:1-11, the Gospel lesson appointed for Epiphany 2C, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.
In the 25th chapter of Isaiah we find a beautiful vision of what happens when God’s victory is made manifest:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoplesa feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
A feast. Rich food. Well-aged wines.
Sounds pretty good, right?
In the Revelation to John, towards the end when the victory of God is nearly fulfilled we find a similar theme:
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, after evil and death are finally defeated, throws a feast. And the invitees are blessed.
A good party is a sign of the Kingdom of God—it’s a foretaste of the Reign of God.
There’s a horrible mistake been made when “religion” and “church” are words synonymous with “boring,” and “lifeless.” Yes, of course there are things to be serious about, and there need to be moments of great solemnity in our common spiritual life.
But, the Kingdom of God is like a party. A feast. With fine food and well-aged wines. That’s the very opposite of boring and lifeless.
And this is why Jesus does what he does at the wedding feast at Cana. The party was going. The food and the wine had been carefully planned and executed…and the wine had run out.
The hosts had either not thought that part through very well, or their guests were particularly thirsty that day.
“Boring-Jesus,” “lifeless-Jesus” would have said, “Great. Now that the wine is gone, the party is over. We can all leave, go home, and get down to serious business. I didn’t want to me here anyway.”
But, no. That’s not the Jesus that we have. Jesus is asked by his mother to do something about it, he does.
He turns water into wine. 120 to 180 gallons of it. (Wow!) And, when the steward takes a sip, he finds out that Jesus hasn’t made Boone’s Farm. (Extra-credit if you know the reference…) He made the good stuff.
Well-aged wine, like the feast of God in Isaiah.
This is the first of the signs in the Gospel of John, and this sign not only points to Jesus as someone who can do miraculous things, but it points to Jesus as the Messiah who has come to fulfill the promises of old. The One who has come to bring on the feasting.
Until it’s not someone else’s wedding he’s supplying the drink for, but his own.
So, get that dour look off your face and start spreading the Good News: The Church isn’t boring. The Kingdom of God is near.