Water into Wine

Like large empty stone vessels full of water we can sometimes find ourselves at a standstill; feeling very human, very ordinary and vulnerable. We see ourselves almost on the brink of discovering something about ourselves, who we are, what will be expected of us, and where it is we're being led.

Yet at the same time not really knowing what exactly it is that we're supposed to do, almost afraid to venture out in case we've got it all wrong.

It's really confusing, and many questions plague us, many doubts surround us, and we hesitate, unsure of ourselves.

I believe that today's gospel reading can help us, if we happen to be in this situation. I'm sure many of us do find ourselves in this position with an interregnum not all that far away.

John may feel some apprehension too about this new direction ahead of himself and his family.

So first of all it's helpful to realise that here in this gospel story that Kate's just read, Jesus is possibly experiencing those very same feelings.

A wedding has taken place in Cana in Galilee, and Jesus, his mother and his disciples are guests there. To the host's acute embarrassment, he finds that the wine has run out.

It is Mary, the mother of Jesus, who notices the delicate situation and it is she who shares the information with her son, "They've no more wine!"

Her concern seems to become an immediate challenge to Jesus, who replies, "Dear woman why do involve me? My time has not yet come."

Jesus seems to be a little anxious and undecided about what to do. Could God be directing him through his mother or is this just his mother being pushy? Perhaps he would like to do something but has doubts whether this is the right time to act? Is this what God really wants?

You see at this point in time Jesus had not begun his ministry, this was to be a stepping stone into it.

This moment actually marked the start of his active service in making God known. It was a turning point for Jesus. Here he performed his very first miracle, which set people to wondering what manner of person he was.

And so we come to realise through this reading that to feel anxious and uncertain about our future in God's service is normal, because even Jesus could have felt this way.

Then Mary has this to say to the servants at the feast, "Do whatever he tells you."

She sounds full of confidence, but here is a woman who knows her son very well, she has watched him grow, she has witnessed the supernatural events at his birth, and treasured them in her heart. She knows herself the circumstances surrounding his miraculous conception and how she felt at the time. No wonder she speaks to the servants fully expecting her son to act.

It's strange isn't it that so often others see in us our true potential and we are blind to it. Friends sometimes see our vocation long before we recognise what it is. People who know us well, have much more confidence in us, than we have ourselves.

And we hear Mary's words even now. They speak still to us," Do whatever he tells you!"

We could even extend that to "Go wherever he sends you, stay wherever he tells you to stay, love whomever he is telling you to love!"

Whether other people believe it or not , we as Christians really ought to believe that God is alive and can still speak to us today. He directs us in our thoughts, some times in our dreams or our prayers, perhaps in our conversations with other people, perhaps sometimes in the silence, but are we listening as carefully as those servants did to Jesus?Are we as obedient to do God's will?

So, the servants do as Jesus tells them. They fill the jars to the brim and they draw some off and everyone is amazed to find that the water in six stone jars has been changed into the most delicious wine.

Are we aware that dramatic changes can occur today. The miraculous can still happen. Whole lives can undergo sudden change, with the change being as real as water being turned into wine.

If we want fizz and verve and life and sparkle in our lives, we will not always find it where we think it is in passing pleasures, whatever they are, or in financial gain.

If at the heart of us we deeply desire to serve God and do a real work for him as a church, then we must be willing to be filled to the brim with his Holy Spirit. Then the kind of service and the kind of gifts and workings mentioned in our new Testament reading can all be drawn off and used, like the finest of wines.

Looking through that list we come to realise that each and every one of us is important, every gift we bring is important for the building up of the body of Christ in this place.

Not one of those gifts to my knowledge has been struck off as unimportant.

If we don't know what it is he is telling us to do, then we have to ask God to show us and direct us.

And most of all we must pray that we as water will be turned into wine.

What we should be moving into here, is not interregnum, we're talking about moving into MAGNUM,

meaning the biggest and the best bottle there is, uncorked for his sake.