So, it's the wedding of the century this weekend. In advance of the rehearsal tomorrow afternoon, I actually read the email that the groom sent me back in July about the reading I'm doing. You might remember that, after I was asked to read at the ceremony, that there was some debate about what I would actually be reading. If I was given a free choice, I wouldn't be reading from the Bible, but as it's not my wedding, the golden rule is that it's not about me. As far as wedding readings go, I'm Ron Burgundy and I will read whatever is put in front of me. 1 Corinthians 13 it is then. And the greatest of these is love. It's a wedding classic. Whatever, right?
Anyway. The order of service was sent to me in July, containing the readings. I read it yesterday. It turns out that I'm actually reading John 2, 1-11. The Wedding at Cana. Another classic... actually one that I'd much rather be reading.
Water into wine. What's not to like?
It's a fascinating text for several reasons.... not least because of the insight that it gives into weddings of the time.
"When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew) he called the bridegroom over.
“This is wonderful stuff!” he said, “You’re different from most! Usually a host uses the best wine first, and afterwards, when everyone is full and doesn’t care, then he brings out the cheaper sort. But you have kept the best for the last."
But of course! You drink the good wine first and then, when everyone is "full and doesn't care" (is that what we're calling it now, eh?), you serve the cheap stuff.
I love the fact that JC doesn't just turn the water into wine - 180 gallons of the stuff, no less - but he turns it into EXCELLENT wine.
We're told that: "This miracle at Cana in Galilee was Jesus’ first public demonstration of his heaven-sent power. And his disciples believed that he really was the Messiah." Yeah, I can well imagine that this particular trick made JC really popular at parties. Let's face it, if you knew someone who could do this, you'd make sure you hung around with them too, right?
It might have been his first miracle, but you have to think that this one was the one that the disciples remembered with real fondness.
"Yeah. So healing lepers and stuff is all very well, but I've got some flagons of water here, and I was wondering...."
Apparently, this was the only 'frivolous' miracle that Jesus performed. All the others were born out of necessity: people ill or dying or whatnot. Hmm. I think you could probably argue that the feeding of the 5000 was more about a group of fairly peckish people than anything born out of dire need, but I wasn't there, so what do I know? Apparently the turning of the water into wine shows that God cares about all our concerns. Yeah, whatever. Here's a flagon of water. Excellent wine please, JC. Excellent wine.
I'm looking forward to reading this. Would comedy voices go down well, do you think?