Worship from the Comfort of Home

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Good morning and welcome to a Sunday morning reflection! Most of us in Northern Ohio are snowed in for the day. I also know there are many reading this blog from all over God’s creation, so welcome as we gather to pause and give thanks! At least here, the snow and wind have stopped, the sun is out, and it is absolutely beautiful. We still have frigid temperatures, so grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, and stay indoors!

Together (although apart) we gather:

Let’s pray . . .

Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

A reading from the Gospel of St. John, the second chapter . . .

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

A brief reflection:

Jesus changes water into wine!

Jesus and his disciples are invited to a wedding. Lo and behold a problem arises . . . there is no more wine! What are we to do!

For the day and times that we are speaking of, running out of wine would have been humiliating. In our own day and times, perhaps the closest we could come was ordering a cake that fed 100, when there were 250 guests or more. For the host, this was bad news, this was embarrassing, this brought shame to the bride, groom, and the entire family

Now we don’t know why Jesus was there. We don’t know if there was some family relation. We can assume that there may have been some family relations since Mary, the mother of our Lord, was there. And what does she do? She ask Jesus to fix it. Actually, she doesn’t really ask, she simply states, “Do what ever he tells you.” From that, we get the miracle of the water turned to wine. And, not just any old wine, but an abundance of the finest wine anyone has ever tasted.

Like you, I’ve tasted some pretty good wine, and I’ve choked down some pretty gross stuff that was supposed to be wine. But rather than think of the taste and flavor, lets just think about the abundance. As the servants filled the six stone jars with water, lots and lots of ordinary, every day water, 150 gallons of water, by God’s divine guidance it becomes wine. That’s a lot of wine! Think about how far that would go! Think about how many that would serve!

Now most of us are more familiar with the average wine bottle. You know the ones that hold 750 ml., well imagine that by the gallon (that’s about 5 bottles), and then imagine that by the two gallon jug (that’s about 10 bottles). For us two gallons is a lot of wine, let alone ponder 150 gallons of wine, but in the country church I served many years ago, there was a family who made our communion wine in two gallon batches. Even at two gallons, it was a lot of wine! It would last for weeks!

What I remember most about those two gallon jugs was the day I broke one! I was planning on taking communion to our home-bound, and needed to fill my traveling communion kit. When I pulled the jug out of the cupboard, I bumped the latch that held the cabinet door shut, and the jug cracked! Then the wine began to flow . . . and flow . . . and flow. All over the carpet! Do you have any idea how far two gallons of wine flows? There wasn’t a sink. There wasn’t a trash can. All I could do was watch this enter two gallon jug drain out into the sacristy floor carpet. In the end a 6 foot circle of soggy, wine soaked carpet surrounded me! Rather than do visits, I ended up going home to pick up my carpet scrubber, to extract gallon after gallon of wine soaked carpet. Not one of my greatest moments!

What I remember most was the smell. When I returned with carpet scrubber in hand, there was a sweet aroma that filled the entire worship space. What I remember most was just how far that wine poured out, how far it quickly spread. What i remember most was how long I had to scrub and scrub and scrub before it was all out.

I like to think of that smell, the abundance, and the lasting effect as a sign of how God works in our life.

God’s love . . . is sweet!
God’s love . . . it flows everywhere!
God’s love . . . it sticks and doesn’t want to come out!

It is my prayer, that you always remember how sweet is the abundance of God’s love. I pray that you might realized that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s sweet love is stuck on you and cannot be washed away. For that, let us ever give our thanks and praise!

Together we pray:

Let us pray . . .

For the sweet love you have give to us
. . . we give you thanks and praise!
For the abundance of grace you have poured into our lives
. . . we give you thanks and praise!
For everything you have blessed us with
. . . we give you thanks and praise!
For the snow that has fallen
. . . we give you thanks and praise!
For the warm cup of coffee or mug of hot cocoa
. . . we give you thanks and praise!
For the time to spend with family and friends
. . . we give you thanks and praise!
For the time of rest and renewal
. . . we give you thanks and praise!

For those we are still longing to experience your love
. . . we entrust them to your care!
For those who only see the emptiness rather than the abundance of good things around them
. . . we entrust them to your care!
For those who struggle to stay warm
. . . we entrust them to your care!
For those who have no one to keep them company
. . . we entrust them to your care!
For those who are sick, ill, and hospitalized
. . . we entrust them to your care!
For our country in the midst of deep political divide
. . . we entrust it to your care!
For those who continue to wait for their pay check even after a long hard days worth of work
. . . we entrust them to your care!

For all that you see, that we may need, we entrust to your care especially as we pray, Our Father . . .

God’s Blessings this Sunday and always!

Stay safe and warm!
Pastor Bailey

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