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Church News Volume 7, Issue 12 (February 2007)

Dear friends,

Jesus was at a wedding in a place called Cana, in Galilee, when the wine ran out, a major catastrophe! So, after prompting from His mother, Jesus ordered the stewards to fill six water jars with water, each holding twenty to thirty gallons huge standing jars, still and immovable. St. John, telling the story, also points out that the jars were the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing. Furthermore, they were made of stone, the same material on which the Law itself had been carved; the same material which Moses had split asunder with Aarons rod to provide water for Israel in the desert.

But water was no longer sufficient. Something more was needed to slake the spiritual thirst of humankind and God had sent Jesus to provide it. Although Jesus knew the time had not yet come for this provision to take place, his mother insisted he at least save this wedding from disaster. What happened next would serve as a trailer to the big picture to come - what John calls "a sign".

Jesus told the stewards to fill the jars with water. Now as long as the water stood in those stone, ritual jars, symbols of the old religion, it was nothing but plain old water. It was only when the stewards drew the water out, at Jesus request, and took it to the master of the banquet to drink, that it was transformed. By this movement, by this participation in the banquet, the water was glorified.

By this willingness to leave the old and take on the new, the water was transfigured into wine not just everyday wine either: we specifically learn that it was better than all the other wines tasted at the party up to that point. The salvation offered by Jesus is not just sweeter than the water provided by Moses but more refreshing than all the other faiths that have been tried, as many and varied as all the vintages that had probably been drunk over the several days that a Jewish wedding could last!

What Jesus did to that water, He'd already done to the disciples: He'd called them from their old life to something new. The leading disciples were fishermen; living off the water, probably knee-deep in water when Jesus strolled along the shore of Lake Galilee and called them into a new kind of faith that was dripping with the wine of the Fathers grace. At this wedding in Cana the disciples have a first "sign" of how bountiful and miraculous that grace can be.

Isn't every generation called to leave the water? Isnt it our turn now to assess honestly what we can sustain and what we need to leave behind for some, perhaps even walking away from the building where weve always worshipped? Christ is calling us to draw the water and taste the wine. It may be painful, but our Creed is one of personal humility and sacrifice. The Body to which we belong bears the wounds of crucifixion. In Communion we drink wine that recollects the blood from those wounds.

The coming years are going to be an exciting time of sharing and learning to be the Church better. New ways of being church in our communities; new forms of Ordained and Lay Ministry developed; more flexible use of our buildings encouraged; and possibly more creative worship devised.

But we cant answer Christ's call if we keep the cold, stone ritual jars of water locked up tight, afraid of the Son-drenched, Spirit-filled power of the wine whose drinking celebrates a new communion with God.

Mary, Jesus' mother said to the servants, "Do whatever He tells you." - and so do we if we wish to taste the new wine which Jesus offers.

Come and join us in following Jesus and drinking of the new wine He offers.

Rev'd Ian M. Finn

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011