Life Together: The Miracle of His Presence

Something almost always goes wrong at a wedding; you can count on it.  You plan and you plan and you check your list twice, three times even 50 times, but still, something you didn’t plan for happens.  Can you remember anything at your wedding or someone else’s wedding that went wrong?  I know at our wedding several things happened before, during, and later at our reception, but you know, I didn’t even realize things had happened because that wasn’t my focus that day.  This coming May my husband and I will be married 25 years, and our marriage is more important than the little things that go wrong during the wedding day.

          If you had been a guest at the wedding in Cana, do you think you would have known what was going on?   This wedding in Cana that Jesus, his mother, and his disciples were invited to probably lasted seven days.  Seven days of eating and drinking.  A wedding was a time of feasting.  It was a time to have a banquet of meat and to have wine for your guests.

          But like I said, every wedding has a crisis and this wedding in Cana had a huge crisis. The wine was gone. Hospitality is very important at a wedding in our country as well as other countries.  It is important that everyone has enough to eat and drink.

          When Mary, who was possibly a relative of the bride, comes to Jesus and says: “They have no wine for the guests,” she is aware that this could be a disgrace to the family. The wine had run out.  To invite guests and not have enough means that this family is forever disgraced among its neighbors and friends in this small village.  Mary wanted Jesus to help this wedding crisis.  She knew Jesus would help solve the problem and meet their need for the celebration. Mary, like any mother, got involved in the crisis.

          Jesus replied to his mother’s statement, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?  My time has not yet come.”  Mary knew Jesus would help because there was a need.  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Just like a mother—involving her son to fix the problem.  How could Jesus say “no” to his mother. Then Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water;” so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”  When the master of the banquet tasted the water it had been miraculously turned into the finest wine.  It was the miracle of Jesus’ presence that changed the whole situation.

          How often do miracles happen right under our noses and we don’t know it.  This is known as the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs.  It says it revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him.  It was an “Aha” moment for the disciples.  This was only the beginning of the miracles.

          It was a simple miracle but yet it revealed Jesus’ glory and he blesses the wedding abundantly with the finest wine.

          What was empty was now full because now there was an abundance.

          There is more to this simple miracle than meets the eye.  It is a resurrection story – a third day story.  The miracle here of changing water into wine also speaks to us in that God takes ordinary people, ordinary things, ordinary events and changes us into new wine and gives us love and grace to overflowing.   Jesus’ grace and love never runs out; there is an abundant supply of the finest love and grace we could ever imagine.  It takes trusting and believing in him that he could fill us with the finest when we feel empty and alone.  Jesus offers only the best to us when life seems empty and dry.           

What parts of your life are dry or empty today?  Do you see others, in your life, that are living life dry and empty?

          Each of us can relate to this story when we need a miracle in our life.  We feel lost, unloved, guilty, searching for meaning in life, we have doubts, and questions and we need to see God working in our lives. 

          We need the Bridegroom, Jesus, to fill us with a miracle and to give us new hope and new life.  Just like the water was transformed into the finest wine so can we be transformed into a new creation.  The old is past away and behold the new has come.

          Regardless of how it feels or what we think about it, the day the wine runs out is the beginning of a miracle.  Christ does not simply refill our glasses. He transforms our lives and changes our heart.

          After all, this time of Lent points us toward the third day, the Day of Resurrection and new life.  Our resurrection faith fills our lives to the brim with love, encouragement, and forgiveness.

          That is the miracle at Cana, and the miracle keeps happening each day.  Every moment of every day Christ pours himself into the empty dry jars of our life.   He is the good wine; extravagant, abundant, and endless.

          Every time he pours life into us by his Holy Spirit our lives are changed and transformed.  We are brought out of death into life.   Knowing that miracles happen with Jesus, we see death turned into life, sorrow into joy and despair into hope, fear into courage and the impossible into the possible.

          Sometimes we need to be Mary and name the empty and dry places in life for ourselves and others in need.  Sometimes we need to be the ones to carry and pour the water and sometimes we need to be the chief steward naming and recognizing new life, helping others taste the new wine.

          When we look at Psalm 23 in relation to this miracle at the wedding in Cana we see that Jesus’ presence at the wedding changed the direction of the celebration.  The one who guides and directs us was there.  Jesus, the shepherd, knew what was needed and wanted. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

          In a time when we are feeling empty, during a time of suffering, as we’re trying to make sense of it all, the presence of our Savior changes our lives. The Lord is our Shepherd.  The Lord is the one that is watching over us.  The Lord is the one who is guiding us and transforming us.  The Lord knows what we need so we shall not want. 

          This psalm reminds us, as the wedding in Cana does, that the Lord provides for us.  We are all in this together as we say now with Covid-19.  Everyone can be changed and transformed in the presence of the Lord.

          The Lord leads us to lie down in green pastures and leads us beside quiet waters, and he restores our souls when we need it.  When we are resting in the green pastures of life we are being fed by God and strengthened for the journey ahead.  By the quiet waters we are to drink and be refreshed daily.  God leads us to those places of rest and refreshment.  That is God’s way of filling us and transforming us.

          Life together with God, we see the miracles of his presence around us by resting in His care and being filled by His Spirit.

          We gather together to be fed as a church family.  The bread and the cup, are God’s way of restoring our souls as we remember Jesus death on the cross for us.  The shared sacrament of communion feeds us and fills us.  The waters of  baptism move us from death to life.

          There in the midst of the wedding at Cana, the blessings of God arrive. From the waters of creation to the baptismal waters of New Life, we again see the miracle of the resurrection show us the promises of restoration and hope in the blessings of the new wine. 

          This Lenten Season God’s promise of new life is for all of us.  Let us trust in Jesus.  As our hymn says, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give: I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live. All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at his feet I bow, worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now.”

          As we surrender and give our life to Jesus, he brings abundant new life to us and many miracles occur in his presence. 

          When we give God our emptiness the Holy Spirit leads us beside still waters for refreshment, peace and rest. What refreshes your soul?  Jesus longs for us to be in his presence so he can have fellowship with us.

          Our world is so busy on Sundays anymore that people don’t think it is important to come to church or even to be in God’s presence.  It is sad that many are running dry in life and need to be filled and transformed.   It is when we are filled with God’s Spirit that we have abundant life.

          This Lent, begin by believing in your trustworthy God who will do miracles with your life and those around you.

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