Posted by: mikebackup | January 19, 2013

Gift wrapped for miraculous service

John 2.1-11

Jesus Changes Water to Wine

2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience where you’ve been invited to a party and to be honest you’ve not been that interested in going. You’re not in the mood or you don’t think it will be very good or you’ve got to dress up as something daft and you really don’t fancy that! Then when you go you’re actually surprised at the good conversation, unexpected generosity of the hosts and see that you were just feeling a bit grumpy beforehand.

Jesus was at a wedding reception where the party was about to run dry. It wasn’t because they were all riotous drunkards, but back then there wasn’t the choice at the bar as there is these days – no G & T or J2Os! If we only served water at a big event questions would be asked and people think it rather odd. Here, Jesus saves the day and the wine continues to be poured. People have a great time and we’re still talking about it 2000 years later!

Celebration and generosity are at the heart of the Gospel – this is how we should react to such great news. Such qualities transform situations and that’s an important reflection here – Jesus transforms the party from near disaster to triumph. If we approach life wanting to celebrate and demonstrate God’s love we too will offer miraculous transformations at unexpected moments. That’s the next point; it may be at the most unexpected time and take a prompt to do something about it. Jesus doesn’t go to this party expecting to do anything. In fact quite the opposite and appears quite indignant at being asked by his Mum – ‘Dear women why do you involve me’. You can see him sat back in his chair looking back with a certain look. But he goes and does it as Mary persists, getting the servants involved. We too may need to prompt someone we know recognising a gift and teasing it out. That can be a bit challenging; especially if you think you know what their reaction will be. It’s most definitely a way God works in us, we will get the prompt from God as he knows that’s the way his plan for that person will work out.

We will shortly have our AGM and rightly celebrate the gifting that keeps our ministry going. I invite you ahead of that to consider the gifting other people have either in church or out of it and how that may help our work for God or further the Kingdom in another way. Pray for God’s guidance in this, you may be surprised at who God places on your heart and for what.

There’s another angle here and that’s when you’re either in search of your gifting and getting nowhere or actually think you have nothing to offer. On that point we all feel down and self-defeating sometimes but the Bible and lived experience illustrates very clearly that we all have something to offer, God has gifted us something we can do at every stage in our life. It might be something life changing or it might be the gift of a confident faith being shared with others when faced with our own mortality. Thelma’s Daughter Kay has been doing just that even though the news for her has got increasingly difficult. So please never feel that you have nothing to offer. If you have faith then you can offer God and God will work with you to make that happen. We are all beautiful and children of God.

When searching for what we can do, the best thing we can do is not do it on our own. We must confide in others either when at a loss or when we have a seemingly outrageous idea for what we can do.

So, we are all gift wrapped presents ready to give God’s love. It may be though that someone else has to undo the bow and rip the paper off.

Another very important thing to remember with gifting is recognising it in those that don’t profess a faith or you’ll ever get along on a Sunday morning. Remember we are building the Kingdom of God and if you recognise those values away from church, don’t get hung up on making them Christian, just nurture and encourage what you see. The Kingdom will grow! You will also be surprised at how eager they are to do something for church when they see it’s doing something life enhancing and not just being boring and irrelevant. That leads onto the final thought, that it may be someone who isn’t a fully fledged Christian in any way will be the one God uses to prompt you or our entire community. Let’s be ready to give and receive in all situations because it’s then true miracles can happen. Supernatural miracles don’t hold the exclusive rights to unbelievable transforming actions. The apparently ordinary when touched by God’s transforming love is equally valid. You are a miracle worker and you’re also potential miracle spotter. All you have to do is believe it and not be afraid.

Lord God,
we know that you are a generous God,
whose love overflows into this world.                 
You pour out on us wonderful gifts
and we have so much to thank you for.

List what you wish to say thank you for

But most of all we thank you for the
amazing gift of Jesus, your most generous gift of all time.
He showed us clearly the depth of your
love, and as he walked to his death in Jerusalem
he brought the gift of new life to us.

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