Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amhert, NY
Imagine you’re at a wedding that ran out of beverages. Worse yet, imagine you are hosting a wedding that runs out of things to drink. Consider the panic, the worry, the stress, the frustration, and the embarrassment that would come from such an event.
This is the scenario that prompts one of Jesus’ most infamous miracles. He is at a wedding that runs out of wine. As panic and worry slowly creep into the room, Jesus’ mother informs him that he needs to do something about it. He responds the way sons often do… “Mom, do I have to?” (my paraphrase). When she leaves the room, he instructs the servants who are present to grab the six stone water jars that are nearby and fill them with water. Scripture says these jugs held 30 gallons of liquid and the servants filled them to the brim.
You likely know the rest of the story. The servants bring the water jugs to the party and give it to the steward running things. He tastes it and discovers it is not only new wine, but also the best wine they’ve had all night. The panic turns to party as despair gives in to joy. The dead end becomes a new beginning. Stress is relieved and strength is renewed.
We may not run out of wine, but there are times in life when it feels like we’ve run out. We run out of energy. We run out of time. We run out of patience. We run out of hope. We run out of money. We run out of ideas. We run out. There are times of panic and stress, times of worry and embarrassment, and times of frustration and fear. There are times we are left to wonder not just how we are going to make it but also if we are going to make it.
What this popular miracle story of water turning to wine teaches us is that at moments like these – at times when it feels like we’ve run out – it is important to invite Jesus to the party (or better yet, make sure he is there in the first place). With Jesus present dead ends always lead to new beginnings. Even the biggest dead end, death, is just the gate to new, eternal and abundant life.
I hope that anyone reading this who feels like they’re running on empty immediately finds blessing and abundance. But I also hope that everyone who is reading this can see himself or herself in this story. May we see ourselves not as the guests who are waiting to be served, but as the servants who listen to the Lord and fill up the cup of someone else.
With Jesus at the party –
With the possibility of new life on the table –
And with people who are ready to serve –
May we find not just new wine or new life, but the best yet.
May your cup runneth over and may your heart be filled with grace.
In the Way,