Sunday, January 17, 2010

2nd after Epiphany


Pastor Joan has finished her sermon for the day. Here is part of that sermon.
“ When I was a little girl we would have big family gatherings at the holidays. There was lots of eating and drinking and all the cousins got to play with each other. It was great.
At every gathering just before we ate my Aunt Doris would remind us we needed to say table grace. Then she would pray that God would bless our food and bless our gathering by his presence. Several times I heard my uncle Fred say that the celebrations were more fun before his sister Doris got religion and put a damper on everything with this God talk.
Some time ago I was at a wedding reception in which I was asked to open the celebration with prayer. It felt right. Most of the time, however, I am invited to the reception but expected to stay out of the way. The God stuff was for the wedding but the reception didn’t need God nor I suspect want Him.
This is sad because as seen in today’s gospel God wants to add to te joy of our good times. He wants to fill them with extra joy. More joy than we have a right to expect.
But we invite God only into our troubled times , sickness, death, family problems. We want God when something needs fixing but otherwise He should leave us alone.
So we lose out.
We miss the really great abundant joy that could be ours.
Think of that at your next celebration.
Invite God in.

Today liturgical churches that use the common lectionary are celebrating the Second Sunday after the Epiphany. The gospel for the Sunday is John is John 2:1-11.
In that time in Church History when theologians and preachers looked at every text in terms of the symbols, open and hidden, it contained this text was a gold mine .It had
The number 6 which was a number for incompleteness.
The phrase “ On the third day” mirroring the Resurrection
The phrase “ my hour” pointing to Jesus death on the cross.
The wedding feast itself , a symbol for the relationship between God and man.
And the list could go on.
I have read some pretty fantastic sermons from that period. Like sermons today they pointed to Jesus as the one who save us but today’s congregation might not understand them because they are not steeped in historic symbolism as were the congregations at the time they were preached.
Today we aren’t so much interested in the symbols as we are in the story.
This little bit of Jesus history is so real and gives us a chance to see the love of God in action.
Jesus was baptized just a short time before this event. With the coming of the Holy Spirit he has a clear vision of the mission the Father has given Him. He has been busy gathering disciples. He had to be eager to get going.
I know that when I was in seminary I could hardly wait to get out and begin real ministry.
So what is he doing at the wedding? Why isn’t he out training disciples or preaching?
The text said he was called. But first it says his mother was there.
Can’t you just hear Mary. “ These are our oldest friends. The least you can do is come to their daughter’s wedding.”
So he came. It was not where he wanted to be.
Then she tells him they have run out of wine. He responds “ Mom, it isn’t time for me to do miracles”
She, of course ignores what he says and tells the servants to do what he says.
I really understand this. When I did my summer internship in a parish near home I was having coffee one morning with my mother when my grandmother called. Mom said Gram wanted me to visit Mr Pemberthy who was dying in the hospital. I told her I wasn’t a real pastor yet. I told her I hadn’t taken the course on counseling dieing people yet. She told Gram I would visit. I did.
Such is the power of mothers.
Jesus then works a miracle and creates six big jugs of wine enough to carry to the end of the wedding and beyond. But it is not just wine it is the best wine.
I love this text because here God tells us he cares about the good times in life as well as the bad. He wants to be part of our joy as well as our sorrow. But in the good times we tend to forget God or put Him on the back burner.
This is too bad because when we invited God to share our good times they become even better. It is not just a good time it is the best good time.
Think of that at your next celebration.

10 Comments:

Blogger DawnTreader said...

Besides your sermons I just read through your Road to Ministry. Very interesting - thanks for sharing.

1:51 AM  
Blogger sema said...

Thanks for sharing a beautiful message-good becomes better when we invite god to share our good times!

2:35 AM  
Blogger Thom said...

Beautiful sermon my friend. :) Have a great Sunday. :)

6:44 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

Yes! I think of how BADLY our Thanksgiving turned 2 years ago when God was turned AWAY from our Thanksgiving feast! It would be so NICE if my whole family would invite him to our celebrations! They are nice when I invite him, but if the family was in concurrence I am SURE they would be BETTER!

Nice sermons today Pastor!

Will you please pray for Pastor Paul and his family. His father, Frank died on Friday. We are burying him today. His mother, Shirley has alzheimers and her husband was her caretaker, her best friend, and the love of her life. Pastor & Kathy's lives are in for a change... many prayers on many levels are needed! Thank you!

7:00 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Two great sermons! Joy always magnifies when shared with God.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

You are so right about the good times. My sponsor asked that I write a gratitude list with 5 items on it every morning. It sets the tone for a day of abundance!

2:29 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

This is one of my favorite readings.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

I always thank God for the good times and ask for guidance during the rough ones.

Pete and Bree were readers at church today. We were also greeters. Pete has been nominated for the church council.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

This was all good stuff, Dr. John.
I am glad you obeyed your Mom. Mom's know best. I have been involved in a little of that dying thing lately. A pastoral visit is often welcome, once in a while not.
..

8:23 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

That's what is getting on my nerves ! People want to have a religious wedding because of the white dress and all the tralalala around, but then the church is forgotten. That's also the same with those who go once a year to the church at Christmas because it is the use of the family and take the places of those who go there regularly. It's just not honnest.

2:49 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home