Lenten Lectionary Four: Enjoy it!

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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. 3When 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.
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days.

If you were, say, the Son of God, the Divine presence enfleshed and living in the neighborhood, what would you do to make your first mark on the world? Mass healing? Cross a sea of some kind? Pull a rabbit out of a hat? I for one would be tempted toward one of these bigger miracles, you know? Something with pizzaz that would immediately let people know who I was, and what I had come down here to do.

And yet, here is Jesus’ first recorded sign in the Gospel of John (spoiler alert: It’s important to keep an eye on the signs and wonders, how many there are, and why that number may be significant). It’s a party! Wedding celebrations in these days were big, multi-day long affairs that involved copious celebrations. Heaven help any groom that had failed to provide for the party at hand. It would be a sign that this person was incapable of providing for his beloved. It would have been embarrassing. It would have been devastating. It would have been the talk of the town for years to come.

Now, a serious biblical scholar would tell you that there’s a lot of symbolism in this story, and there is. The purification jars? The water? Wine as a symbol of what’s coming next in the Lord’s supper? Yes yes and yes. But at it’s most basic, this sign is all about keeping the party going, and I think that’s something worth paying attention to. This life, for all that is has to do with our spiritual lives, for all that it has to say about justice and redemption and forgiveness, this life is also something that is meant to be enjoyed. We are meant to be a people of celebration. We are meant to keep the party going.

So even while this blog post comes up a little bit later in the day, enjoy it! Spend some time with your loved ones. Listen to some good music. Spend some time outside. I for one thing that Jesus told us that it’s ok, in fact, it’s encouraged.

Let’s enjoy life a bit tonight, eh?

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