Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Life of the Party
Life of the Party is our worship theme for the second Sunday after Epiphany, January 20, 2013. Our focus scripture is John 2:1-11.
This famous story is the first of “seven signs” of Jesus’ identity as God’s Son that appear in the Gospel of John. Some scholars believe that John had access to both a “signs document” and a “discourses document” and wove them together in his Gospel. In any case it is not incidental that the scene of the first sign would be a wedding feast, for spiritually Jesus is the bridegroom come to the party of life to woo and marry his church. Other stories make this clear. The ten bridesmaids, five of whom are prepared and five who are unprepared and thus miss out on the wedding. The great banquet thrown by the king but missed by the first and most obvious on the guest list. And the great celebration when the lost son comes home. The Gospel writers’ most powerful image for heaven is a great celebration, like a wedding feast, with singing and dancing and plenty of good food and wine. And recognizing who Jesus is and how he brings God's reign to life even within this life is key.
So in this setting of a wedding feast, Jesus ends up saving the day. The wine has run out. The party is about to end. The hosts will be embarrassed. But there are six empty stone jars used for ritual washing. Each holds twenty or thirty gallons! Servants fill these jars with water. Jesus says the word and behold, the best wine is there in abundance. Is John suggesting that the rituals of the law are transformed by grace? Yes! Is he suggesting that the life at its heart is not drudgery but dancing? Yes! Is he suggesting that the wine is a symbol for the Spirit of God’s love which Jesus offers to a world in need? Yes!
Here is a Call to Worship from Isaiah 62:1-5. Please use or adapt anything that is helpful to you.
Call to Worship From Isaiah 62:1-5
L: Friends, let us recall the words of Isaiah in the time of Israel’s captivity:
P: I love my people, and I cannot hold my tongue!
L: I will not stop praying for you until your goodness shines like the sun
and your salvation blazes like a flaming torch!
P: The nations will be blinded by your glory.
God will hold you up for all to see.
L: God will give you a new name.
P: No more “Forsaken.” Now you are “God’s bliss.”
L: No more “Desolate.” Now you are “God’s soul mate.”
P: For the Lord delights in you and claims you as God’s bride.
L: God rejoices over you as a bridegroom is wildly in love with his bride.
All: Let us rejoice in God’s everlasting love. Let us worship God!