“Mom Spoke Up!”

John 2:1-11, January 16th, 2022

Sermon by Pastor Tim Woodard


“Hear now these words of scripture taken from the gospel according to John, chapter two, verses one thru eleven.”

John 2:1-11

1 In the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 

2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 

3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 

4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 

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

6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 

7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 

8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 

9 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 10 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.” 

11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

“Having heard these words from our scripture lesson about the Wedding in Cana of Galilee, let us consider it’s context and what it may mean for us – in this time period in which we live.”

“Mom Spoke Up!”

Chaos and stress are two emotions that most of us seek to avoid. Yet, they are usually in the mix of life’s unwanted emotions.  Each can take on different levels and can be handled or dealt with at various and diverse ways. As we consider these emotions, lets start with the simpler of the two: stress.  Simpler but now necessarily easier or less important as to how we handle or deal with stress.  Just this week I got an unexpected rebate from my dentist.  Seems my insurance career paid for more than expected of a bill last year.  With this seeming gift I headed to one of our two local banks.  Lois and I were talking in the car, and I missed my turn to my preferred bank.  Decided to turn back, then decided to go to my second choice.  We do business with both banks.  Upon arrival I learn that the bank lobby was closed, and we were back to the “make an appointment” concept of banking. 

So, I pulled into the drive-up window line.  Just one other customer at the second window.  Sounds easy right. I put my signed check, driver’s license and Bank card in the little cylinder and press the button, so it goes inside.  And then I wait.  Five minutes or more later that other customer in the other line leaves and a new car pulls up.  They are served instantly.  I wave my hands and say “hay-what goes.” I am informed that someone is processing my request.  I have a savings account and a checking account with this bank.  It was a small local check from the dentist. I’m told cashing a check takes longer.  I bit my tongue, but the stress is there.  A few minutes later we leave, and all is well.  I talk with Lois and some friends about this. 

The follow-up conversations basically said to me – pastor follow your own advice.  Did you, P. P.? Did you Pause and Pray?  I needed to be reminded.  It is so easy to do.  Allowing stress to go forward without at least talking about it with someone, putting it into perspective and moving on is a good course of action.  The pausing and praying, on the spot, at the least slows one’s emotions down and can even cause one to reflect on the importance of seeing things from a different point. Take my little refund check, it was a gift as I didn’t expect it.  Secondly, I forgot to consider the teller at the bank was probably dealing with unhappy customers all morning as the bank lobby was closed to walk-ins due possibly to a short staff, brought on because of the Virus, which we all know about.

Many things, outside our control can cause stress.  We each have our own list.  One friend talked about having to cancel a planned vacation because the Covid test was delayed and thus they could not get on the plane.  Another talked about a situation, outside their control, where a family member was dying, and they were flying to hopefully have a last visit with their loved one.  Another talked about the noisy construction project outside where we were talking. Stress is not the question.  The question is how we will handle it.  Handled incorrectly can lead to an acceleration to our stress… creating other unnecessary situations, which could lead us into chaos or create a chaotic situation. 

The key here is to nip stress in the bud when it first pops up in our day to day lives unexpectantly. This can be as simple as pausing and praying, asking God for a little direction. Once we do this we can move forward in our day with a new perspective, especially if we take time to accept that we more than likely, can not change the situation.  Accepting life on life’s terms is not always easy. Waiting a few extra minutes to cash an unexpected check ought not cause us stress.  Yet, even in the most positive of situations it does, simply because we get too focused on ourselves and forget others all around us – they are doing what they need to do as well.  Asking God for help can change our expectations and realize there is a bigger picture than our little self-made dramas.            

Our friend with a family member in a life and death situation – will take more than one prayer.  She is a strong woman, and we feel certain that she is doing what she needs to do, realizing she can not change the course of what is happening.  Her awareness of God in her life and in the life of her loved one will be an asset to others involved in this moment in time.  And she will be a comfort to her loved one.  Her faith will go a long way to helping her loved one find peace, even at the end of life.  God is with us all the time.  We just need to acknowledge this blessing.

The setting for our scripture lesson this morning is a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Its significance is that Jesus and presumably his family are invited guests as he and his mother, Mary, are in attendance.  We also know that that Jesus’ disciples are in attendance there with him.  Surely, they are the ones recounting this historical event.  Not that the wedding itself was historical, although it was for the newly married couple.  But what occurs during the event is historical, it is a first sign as to who Jesus truly was and is.  And it is all because of the actions of his mother, Mary.  Seems that a very stress inducing moment had arrived in the event. Oh, by the way, weddings are celebrated over several days, according to Jewish customs and rituals.   The event can go on for a seven-day period.  Granted the wedding ceremony itself is usually around forty-five minutes long.  We do not know how long this celebration lasted; however, we know they had run out of wine.  Surely, this was a stress filled moment for the wine steward and the wedding planners, as it would have been an embarrassment for the family and accordingly the bride, and groom.

The core of this lesson begins to take shape as Jesus’ mother, Mary, brings this to his attention. Hear again the actual narrative. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” /John 2:3/ Wow! Big wedding and they have run out of wine. Surely, this is noteworthy. But, at first glance it hardly seems fitting for a discussion on Sunday morning.  How could this be important to the story line of the gospels telling, as to who Jesus is!? It seems, based on Jesus’ recorded response he had his doubts as to its importance to him.  His response seems a rebuttal to his mother’s wishes. And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” /John 2: 4/ Not only does he seemingly insult his mother or at least he is pushing her concern aside with his response, when Jesus say’s “What concern is this to us?”  Its as if he said, “This is none of our concern.” Ah, but what son gets the last word when speaking to their mother?

Her abrupt response to her son’s remarks bears authority and clarifies the end of their conversation.  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” /John 2:5/ It is puzzling to say the least that our narrative gives so much authority to Mother Mary.  Puzzling indeed.  Not withstanding this is how it is recorded. If Jesus said anything further, it is not written for us to critique. Rather our attention is drawn to the. “Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.” /John 2:6/ I minored in math but six times twenty equals one hundred and twenty Gallons, minimally and six times thirty equals one hundred and eighty gallons at the maximum.  Those were big water jars!  Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” /John 2:7/

The story line of this accounting is rather easy to follow.  The drama builds when the wine steward is asked to taste the water.  It becomes wine and better wine then what had been purchased. The last sentence clarifies the writer’s intent. “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” This being the first sign implies there are more signs to be revealed to the reader or the hearer of John’s gospel accounting of the story of Jesus.  This was but the first. There are seven signs: The turning Water into Wine, The Healing of a Nobleman’s son, The healing of a Lame Man at the pool, The Feeding of the Five Thousand. Jesus Walking on Water. The Healing of the Man Born Blind. And the ultimate: the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead.

What stands out for our review this morning is the power of Jesus. Absolutely! Changing water to wine, at the insistence of his mother! One might take pause and think, ponder, and mull over this event. Jesus was still your average young man. Even his male dominated social system caused the writer to point this out for us. Thank you, John! Despite Jesus’ seeming defiance of his mother’s authority over him, he honored her wishes.  Like the fifth Commandment: “Honor your father, and your mother.” Jesus honors his mother! In this first sign of the power of Jesus, a sign of Jesus’ oneness with our Creator, we are reminded that Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments as part of the teachings we find in holy scripture. 

Consider the importance as we listened to Jesus’ mom speaking out for their wedding hosts needs, where they were there – merely as honored guests! Consider how we might follow-suit as we seek to find new-ways to speak out, much like Mary did, for those that have greater needs than a supply of wine for a wedding, used for the comfort of their guests to celebrate. Consider how we might speak out for the truly hunger! Let us rally around those who are marginalized for the color of their skin, the accent of their voices and the customs of their forefathers! Let us consider who Jesus truly was, as we study the signs, and as we witness to his ministry here among our brothers and sisters who came before us. Let us ‘speak up’ so that ‘generations yet to be’ will fully appreciate the birth, the life, and the death, as well as the resurrection of Christ Jesus! 

Amen.     

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