Saturday, January 19, 2013

Second Sunday after Epiphany: What Do You Bring to the Party?

One of the big concerns for my daughter’s wedding was to make sure that we had enough food for the party. We got a count of the guests – I was pretty sure my daughter’s count was way too high but - well - you don’t want to run out. So we made sure we had enough, more than enough, to serve our wedding guests.

It wouldn’t do to run out of food at your daughter’s wedding celebration.

It wouldn’t do to run out of wine at their son’s wedding feast.

I bet the groom’s family in today’s gospel did every bit as much planning for their big celebration. They counted and recounted, planned and saved. 

I’m sure the groom’s family thought they had more than enough to meet their needs.

As it turns out, enough wasn’t enough.

The unthinkable happened – they run out of wine.  And Jesus meets their need - turning water into wine.

An awful lot of wine.

Really good wine.

Jesus has the servants fill six stone jars – 20 to 30 gallons each.  Which means between 120 and 180 gallons of wine.

That’s a lot of wine – especially since the party’s already halfway over!

Their cup overflows!

Wine in abundance, and much better than the wine already served.  The steward goes to the bridegroom and says, “Hey buddy. What’s up with that?  Everybody serves the good stuff first, but here - the party’s in full swing and a lot of people won’t be able to tell the difference anymore – and now - you finally bring out the good stuff.”

The good stuff …in abundance.

What we think is good and what we think is enough is nowhere near the abundant good stuff God has for us.

 I think too often we look at what we have and say it’s not enough.  And we forget God takes jars of water and turns it into abundant wine.  Jesus takes 5 loaves and 2 fish and feeds 5000.  

God gives in abundance.  Sometimes God gives us more than we realize we have.

Paul teaches the Corinthians (and us) that everyone who believes has the gift of the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit gives gifts and abilities to each one of us – gifts we are to use for the benefit of our church, our community, the world.

Paul gives a list - wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues.  Paul gives other lists of gifts in other places: prophecy, teaching, expectation, and giving, leadership, compassion, evangelizing.[i] 

You may not think God has gifted you in any special way, but God has. Maybe it’s visiting, or hospitality, or knowing when someone needs an encouraging word. Maybe it’s an ability or skill that can be used to help someone in need. Maybe you think your gift is small – more water than wine.  That’s ok.  We know what Jesus can do with a little water!

So what do you bring to the party?

Today we hold our annual meeting.  We going to talk about how we have used what God has given us over the last year and think about how we can use the gifts God continues to give us to serve our church our community and our God.

We’re going to look at our plans and think about how Jesus turns our water into wine.   

We’ll think about the gifts God has given us – and ask God how we might be able to bring those to the party God wants to throw for the whole world.

[i] Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. In fact later on in first Corinthians 12 Paul names additional gifts.

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