Pastor Cheryl Hoffman's sermon for Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022 Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, John 2: 1-11
It is helpful to remember we are in the season of Epiphany, and it’s called Epiphany for a reason. During this liturgical season we should be expecting epiphanies, or revelations, stories revealing something about the person and nature of Jesus or God, the Father.
Today we find ourselves back in John’s gospel. The scene is Jesus’s first miracle, although John simply calls it a sign. What do you suppose is the epiphany found in water, wine and a wedding?
Well, let’s start at the beginning, as I understand this is a very good place to start. There is a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Now this is a little misleading, as the miracle occurs not at the wedding, but at the party that follows. We call this the reception. You have all been to weddings, I presume, and the receptions that follow, yes? They are two very different events. There is a reverence and refined nature observed in the wedding ceremony. Receptions, however, are often anything but reverent and refined. At the wedding we invoke God’s presence. At the reception, well, let’s just say that after the blessing of the meal, God is often free to leave the building.
And yet, where is it we find God in today’s gospel? At the reception.
What does this say about God? It says to me, God intends to be part of our entire lives, not just the formal religious times of prayer and worship, but also the wild, crazy, and irreverent times and places of life. There is another significant piece to the fact that we first witness Jesus in action at a wedding. God understands his relationship with us to be a marriage, in which we are the bride and he is the bridegroom. We heard this in the reading from Isaiah. “As a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
It’s not by accident Jesus first courts us at a wedding, for this event is truly a foretaste of the wedding feast that is to come.