James Janknegt Wedding at Cana

Isaiah 62:1-5: Isaiah’s prayer for Jerusalem, and prophecy that God will restore her to be a place that people celebrate – even as bride and groom celebrate each other.

Psalm 36:5-10: A song of celebration for God’s unfailing love and care which includes all humanity and all of creation.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11: No one can acknowledge Jesus as Lord except by the Holy Spirit, who gives gifts to God’s people. These gifts are diverse, though God is one, but all are given for the common good.

John 2:1-11: At a wedding in Cana, they run out of wine, and Jesus’ mother tells the servants to do whatever he tells them, in spite of Jesus saying his time had not yet come. Then Jesus tells them to fill the water jars with water and take some to the host. When he tastes the water, it has become wine.

(Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

RCL readings handout RCL readings.Epiphany2

This is also the Sunday set aside by the Uniting Church in Australia for the Day of Mourning, to reflect on the effect of invasion and colonisation on Australia’s First Peoples and our identity as a nation. This is scheduled for the Sunday just prior to Australia Day, January 26th. Click on the link for more information, and worship resources.

Components of worship
(Scroll down for resources for this particular Sunday)
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

Prayer (based on John 2: 1-11, the wedding in Cana of Galilee)
Incarnate One,
the wine has given out, and the jars are empty.
We live in a time of
persistent pivoting and stretched health care,
amassing troops and blockaded aid,
environmental gloom and heavy rains,
“Me Too” and murder trials.
Please, dear Jesus, do not say to us
that your hour has not come,
that all of this is of no concern to you.
We do not need divine reluctance.
The world and your people are
weary and worn-out,
tired and tempted,
sad and sorrowful.
We do not presume that you are
a Galilean magician,
a miracle ATM,
or an ancient present-bearing Santa,
but please, dear Jesus,
fill us to the brim,
turn water into wine.
We need
to remember the extravagant abundance of creation,
to celebrate the outstanding blessing of life,
to rejoice with gratitude for the gifts you offer us.
We hope that your astonishing divine generosity will turn,
war into peace,
inequality into respect,
cruelty into compassion,
despair into justice.
Give us a sign.
Reveal your glory.
Help us to keep the party going.
Let’s have the feast be joy.
May the banquet be welcome and hospitality.
(Source: Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada, 2022)

you make the water of my life into wine,
my ordinary into your holy.
You request miracles of me
the moment before I know I’m ready.
What was for purification of uncleanness
you make into celebration of beauty.
You change my despair to gratitude
in secret, my dark certainty to wonder.
You make this life into a wedding feast,
my faithful marriage to the Holy One.
Always you turn piety into a party.
And always the best is yet to come.
This wine is not for discussion.
It’s to drink. It’s good. It’s really good. Let’s dance.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Collect for Epiphany 2C
God of abundant life, God of aged best wine,
when our lives seem to us dreary, you change it,
you change us into the best, the best we can be, the best wine.
May we drink life to the fullest with Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.  Amen (Bob Eldan)

Prayers for others
God of righteousness – spread your wings
Over the earth, enfold the suffering in clouds of mercy.
Reach into the tragedies of this earth,
Especially the chaos and despair in places of natural disasters and conflicts.
May our hands be yours, bringing relief
Precious is your love, O God.
May we take refuge  in the shadow of your wings.

Guide the leaders of nations – in grace
Teach us, your people, to be Your heart,  your love abundant.
Like a mountain of love reaching to the heavens
A gift of the Holy Spirit given, that we may be
A place of refuge in the dust, hope in darkness
In your light may we see, may we be light
Precious is your love, O God.
May we take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Merciful God, be with us all, – this day
The sick and the dying, the worn, and fearful and all who suffer.
Call us by name, the name you give, love.
A fountain of mercy pouring forth light
You who lift us up, known before birth
Naming, calling, holding, caring.
Precious is your love, O God
May we take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Gracious and Holy One, we give thanks for all the blessings of this life
Miracles of grace – of being found, of air and water, of food, song and prayer
Tenderly hold us, gently lift the cup, the wine of your delight.
Precious is your love, O God
May we take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Amen.
(Source: RevGal Prayer Pal)Components of worship

Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

Ideas for children’s talk (John 2:1-11) using ‘dollar store’ knick knacks.

Sermon by Bill Peddie for Epiphany 2C

Reflection by April Fiet, Water into Wine – a story of re-creation. 

From a Twitter thread – comments about sermon prep for the Gospel reading 
Carolyn Sessom – ‘That Mary – who knew who it was like to live with secrets told about her, didn’t want the new couple to have any shame on them (the story would have always followed them that they ran out of wine). Trying to avert shame is what prompted her. And Jesus responds. It is such colossal shame-busting love for her to ask and despite His first remark, He knows what’s driving her – voila – water becomes wine. The shame thread is real in the Middle East. Jesus and Mary work together to spare the newlyweds. 
(lots of honour language by the officiant to the bridegroom without realising it was Jesus)
Cynthia Jobe – I love that he took the water used for ceremonial cleaning (religion/man’s laws) and turned it into good wine! 
Rev Andrew Curry – He took an ordinary thing, and made it extraordinary. And all in the name of hospitality, as it would have been a terrible thing had the wedding run out of wine so early. What does that say to us about how we ought to extend welcome?
Annemarie Quigley – and it was done through putting that ordinary water into vessels made form earth. 
Mike’s Snow Globe Shake-Up – It reminds me of the scene in Babette’s Feast when the general – a prodigal member of the community – is presented the bottle of Clos de Vougeot, 1845! Only he is capable to interpreting for this broken community the gift of the meal and the super abundance of grace that reconciles. The sign of the gift of 180 gallons of fine wine is prodigal. A nod to the believers experience of grace upon grace. Signs in John are not just miracles but symbols of Jesus’ self-revelation. An invitation, they speak to how believers may experience his nature and character. 
@GenXHelen – In our experience of worship in the pandemic – the water of zoom became the wine of communal worship despite being at home. 
Megan, @CoffeeLurver – I noticed the obedience of the staff. I’m sure they must have been wondering how on earth water was going to fix this massive problem. It prompted me to ask the question about what small thing God was asking me to be obedient in or to see that God could show up in ways I had not yet even considered, or might never consider on my own. Obedience is not often a popular concept so this can be tricky.
(And Jesus obeyed his mother!)
Rev Jason B Elder (@JasonBElder1) – we are not bottomless reservoirs, but are souls who need to be filled and transformed. So, we can be like Mary and trust that Christ can bring that about. 
mads rejoicing – Christ asks/tells the servants to fill the jugs and bring them to him. Makes me think about how we often depend on those around us to ‘fill us up’ and care for us before we can experience transformation. 
@Joe Genau – Mary doesn’t show up again in John’s Gospel until the cross. This sign came with a cost for her.
(‘Do what he tells you’ are Mary’s last words in the Bible). 
@Maryknol – The bride and groom don’t know about the miracle. Only the servants knew. 
(those who did the ‘grunt work’ got to be in on the secret of the miracle – not the steward or the wedding party or the guests)
@revdalestiles – like the servants, imagine if we did everything Jesus told us to do. Love your neighbour as yourself. Love your enemies. If anyone takes your coat, give him your shirt as well. Wash one another’s feet. Do not judge others. Whatever Jesus says, you do it. 
@MonkinDocs – In the context, the family faced community humiliation and sanction for running out of wine. Jesus’ miracle meant this did not happen. All other miracles include this social healing as part of their outcomes also. 
@booksormaps – I heard that the word ‘woman’ was mistranslated here. It is apparently an affectionate term. It was the same term he used on the cross to ask John to take care of her as a mother after he died. 
@MissAdventure44 – The servants filled those huge water jars to the brim. Such faith before any recorded miracles. And then, the faith of that one dude who takes a spoonful to his boss. Was it still water??

Dr Timothy Keller, Wedding at Cana
A miraculous solution to a social embarrassment. Why would this be an inaugural episode in Jesus’ ministry? We need to understand the whole passage is a symbol of why Jesus is all about. Jesus says, I come to bring festival joy. I am the lord of the banquet. 
The Bible uses lots of sensory language (taste and see the Lord is good) – we need to experience it. 
Jesus says, My time has not yet come (‘my time’ = ‘my death’). He is saying, I’m not ready to die. He’s always thinking about death. Then he goes on to recognise it’s about relieving the bridal couple from shame. I have come to do something about shame. I’ve come to bring joy.
It wasn’t until after Jesus’ death that the disciples ‘get it’.
(Dr Keller makes a point about the centrality of Jesus’ death and not just his life as an exemplar of how we are to live). 

The volume of the wine changed from the water is significant; it is an abundant amount given how late in the celebration. It is a metaphor for the way the love and the Presence of God fills us all, God’s own created vessels, up to the brim, just as the new wine fills the stone jars. And it matters not how late in our lives that we change and recognize the fullness of God’s love within. The moment made believers of his chosen disciples: Jesus, Son of God, Worker of Miracles! Let’s follow him everywhere! Christina Brennan Lee blog

Music: Life to the Brim by Andrew Dutney (linked to John 2.7)

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Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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