1st Scripture Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5 & Psalm 36
The writer of the psalm this morning delights in the abundance of God’s faithful love saying that all people “feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”
There is a significant shift here, and also in the reading from Isaiah, from a punishing, vindictive God to a loving, forgiving God who blesses all creation and raises all from the ashes of sin and previous bad behavior. “For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” And, “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord.”
In ages past, the people were like frightened sheep, herded this way and that by tyrants and bullies who knew nothing of God’s ways. The power of God was demonstrated to them, so that they would know that the earthly powers and authority of unjust rulers was not supreme. The people needed to learn that moral authority came from God, and that they needed to seek that guidance within themselves – to make better choices in terms of their own behaviour based on God’s laws – not the whims and dictates of earthly bullies.
We are still learning this all-important lesson. We are still plagued by unjust leaders who try to influence our choices. People of God, there is only one supreme authority – only one unfailing guide for the choices we must make in how to live our lives. As Christians, only in God through Jesus can we hope to succeed. Our Creator loves all of Creation. As children of God and stewards of this beautiful planet, we are challenged to make good decisions as we have been taught by Christ Jesus, who brought us the Way of Love.
Hymn # 30 MV “It’s a song of praise to the Maker”
2nd Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 & John 2:1-11
Beloved children of God, we have all been given gifts to use in the service of God’s kindom. We are all blessed with some gift – great or small that is to be used for the good of all.
To me this means that all members of our community have something to contribute: men and women, children, the person with disability, the marginalized, and those who look or sound so different from ourselves. This understanding challenges us to be more inclusive, more welcoming, and more tolerant. Harsh judgments of those who do not look like us will not do. Failure to be compassionate to those who struggle with disabilities, or illness, or weakness of character is a failing on our own part.
I have read that in some indigenous communities, it is the duty of the elders to seek out the gifts of each new member and to foster and mentor that person in the expression of those gifts. Our world would be a different place, wouldn’t it, if every child knew they had an important part to play in the life of their community?
What a concept! If the purpose of life on earth was to enrich and build communities that lived by God’s laws, instead of to become good consumers, and good worker slaves to the economy that produces material wealth for a few.
I am afraid we are in danger of losing our way, people of God, in a world where every value is subsumed by the needs of economic growth. And economic growth is plainly unsustainable in a finite planet with uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, and equally uncontrolled population growth.
And then there is Jesus. In a world where all social behaviour was strictly regulated, and purity laws targeted women and marginalized groups to the benefit of the dominant orthodox Jewish culture, Jesus turns things upside down. At the wedding in Cana, attended by his mother and all his disciples, he performs a miracle. He turns water in purification vessels, intended for a purely regulatory and exclusive ritual, into really good wine – wine intended to increase the joy and pleasure of the people attending the wedding – wine to bless this joyful occasion and enrich the life of this community.
And let’s not forget that it’s a miracle – it isn’t supposed to be possible. Another demonstration of the supremacy of God’s authority, and Jesus’ power as God’s anointed. This story reminds us that so much more is possible for us as God’s children, if we only can remember that this is who we are!
People of God, the bullies and tyrants of this world only hold power that we allow them to have. We also are God’s anointed. We are responsible for our values, our choices, and our actions in the world. God’s great Love is a powerful weapon – and one we must never abandon or lose sight of. Love heals. Love empowers. Love enriches the lives of our people and of our communities. Only love can defeat the messengers of hate and fear and discrimination. Only love embodied in people like you and I can do Christ’s work in the world.
May God’s great Love embolden you to see and express your great gifts for the world. May that Love inspire you to take on the impossible and to succeed where all around you see only failure.
As blessed and beloved children of God, let us pick up our crayons and colour a vision of God’s kindom that’s never been imagined before. Let’s use Love to colour outside the lines.
Hymn # 138 MV “My love colours outside the lines”