#Wine&Butterflies is the reflection for January 17, 2016. We can get so caught up in the utility of life, we often fail to realize that God is playfully presenting his power and wonder right in front of our eyes. Mark Kurowski investigates this phenomena. Listen here in this reflection: Download it into your phone. #MSAWordfortheDay #Sermon #Homily #Mary #WeddingAtCana #Resurrection #AfterThreeDays #GodTransforms #Morethanitappears #MySpiritualAdvisor
For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 1/17/2016 The 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read John 2:1-11.
There are moments in our lives when we think of something that happened that just crystalized the very essence of what it meant to be alive for us at that time, that place, that era of our life. I was recalling this past week one of those moments, but one that I would rather not think of that often, or at all.
It is a moment when I was a boy of about 12. It was the summer time. The trees were green. The sun was shining. My entire family, all nine of us children, the spouses of my siblings, et al, were gathered in our small three bedroom post World War II prefabricated house. It must have been a graduation or something. As everyone was talking that culminated in a cacophony, I was suddenly overwhelmed. Not knowing what to do, I retreated into my bedroom, closed the door, and thought to myself, “I will wait until everyone is gone. I have no idea whom to make happy.”
When I was a boy, I thought that life was about pleasing other people, making them happy, so that they would be nice to me. Indeed, my first recollected prayer was that God would let people know how much Ioved them and that they did not need to be afraid. It wasn’t until I was 16 and had what evangelicals call a “Conversion experience”, where I realized that God loved me and that was all I needed, that life made any sense at all.
Life with God made the ability to live life so much more manageable, albeit not always pleasant. No matter what people, life, events throw at me, I know in whom I believe and I know that he can take the worst of situations and make them into something even better than what I thought was possible.
The miracle at Cana is an odd story. It is a story that is just kind of weird. Jesus and his family go to a wedding. The wine runs out and his mother seems to gossip about the wine being gone as if it is a scandal, or as if Jesus has something to do with it. He says, “What does this have to do with you and me?” Then he says something really strange, “My hour has not come.”
I could just see us sitting around and the door being left open and my wife looks at me and says, “The door is open.” To which I say, “What is that to you and me, woman. My hour has not come.” I wonder how that would go over.
It does seem odd, but when we consider that the Gospels are written to bolster or elicit faith in Jesus Christ, we can see some markers of insight in the way this story is told. The story itself opens with, “On the third day…” We all know what that phrase means to us. It elicits visions of resurrection. Resurrection elicits visions of newness of life without sin, pain, death, betrayal. For Christians, resurrection is more than just restoration. It is making what was even more than we knew it in its splendor, amazement, unspeakable depth, profundity, and wonder. It is making water into wine.
Another oddity about this story is that Jesus declares that it is not his time, but then does something amazing. There are other instances of this phenomena in the Gospel of John. When Jesus says, “his hour has not come,” we know what hour that is. We know the brutality which humanity will unleash upon the One through whom they were created. The miracle at Cana reveals the “God-ness” of Jesus Christ. It is nothing for him to change something so basic into something so wonderful, for those who are like the servants who give the wine to the steward. They know. They are amazed like we are when we contemplate a butterfly flitting from flower to flower in a meadow on a lazy day.
Butterflies are amazing. They are beautiful, graceful, and the genteel winged character in God’s environmental play. Yet, they are also the third most important pollinator, thus key to the food chain, of bees, flies and butterflies. When humanity builds buildings, they make boxes and crazy shapes that rocket into the skyline. When God builds a food chain, he creates a fanciful delight that serves a purpose, but has such beauty and grace that we forget completely its importance to the economy of the environment. When there is water, who really needs wine? But who can deny that wine is so much better than water. This is our God.
God is not just about utility: send the Savior, have him killed, have him resurrected, done. God is about revealing himself in all aspects of life. He is utility as we see with water and pollination. He is in the fanciful in the wine and butterflies.
This story, the first of Jesus’ so called “miracles”, as if he is incapable and there is something miraculous about it, is so pedestrian. He is so, ho-hum. There is no calling down of fire from the sky like Elijah before the prophets of Baal. There is no raising the staff to part the Red Sea as Moses did. Simply, fill up those jars, please. He knows who he is. He knows what can happen. The first miracle lets us who believe know what can happen in our lives, too.
Like a young teenager, scared and confused about life, there is sudden clarity when I encountered the love of God through Jesus Christ. Like the servants who gave the “water” to the steward who discovered wine, we too can discover that all life is new, different, exciting, amazing, profund, meaningful, and worth living, when it is lived with Christ as our center, Christ as our filter, Christ as our lens of the world.
When we have Jesus as the center of our existence, then water is wine. All is gift because we know through whom we receive all things, believe all things, trust all things. The old passes away and all things are new in him. Our relationships, our encounter with nature, our value of life regardless of station, all of it, it is all different and new with Jesus Christ.
Today, I want us to stop. Take a moment. Breathe deeply and exhale all the tension and anxiety of life. Then, breathe in the Holy Spirit to the depths of our soul. Then, look at life again. Sometimes, it just causes me to laugh out loud at the beauty of a butterfly, the amazing taste of wine, the goodness of a child amazed at the world, the eyes of an old woman who knows the true meaning of life, the zest of a young man discovering his craft, the laughter of an exhausted mama who drops the groceries on the table clanking her keys only to look up and see the monkey face on her child staring at her in love.
Stop. Look at everything through the Lord Jesus and his ability to make all things new. Now, face the day. Amen.
The miracles in the Gospel of John always reveal something about Jesus. They also point out that those who have faith believe in them. Those who do not, are either bewildered, or find some other reason for the miracle to happen.
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