Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hears Wedding Bells -- Faithwork

When I was growing up, I had drawn out what I wanted my wedding gown to look like. I think I drew it when I was probably a freshman in high school. Does that surprise you? And do you know I found it. It was the second dress I tried on, but it was not the dress I bought. I bought the first one I ever tried on. It was fitted and gorgeous and ridiculously small – 16 years ago, I was a twig. (Daddy used to say that if I stuck out my tongue I’d look like a zipper! Thankfully, I had a sense of humor because you have to admit that’s a good line.) A lot of girls have dreams of what their dress and wedding day will be like. People have asked me if there were any mishaps on my wedding day or calamities to which I reply, “Nope, momma didn’t plan for any.” The biggest surprise of the day, we left in a horse-drawn carriage. Just beautiful. Do you have a picture of your wedding dress? I’d love to see it. Post a picture for me.

In my small group of women on Sunday morning, there are women of all ages, backgrounds, single, married, divorced, widowed, with children, without children, with grandchildren, etc. In honor of one of my “young’uns” who will be getting married in April, the FAITHWORK this week was on Jesus’ first miracle which happens to be at a wedding.

Did you read it? Did you reread it? Did you read it as if it were your first time? Did you write down your notes answering questions for each verse? Did you read it using your imagination? What did you see, hear, sense, taste, feel? What questions came to your mind?

A brief summary of the who, what, when, where and whys. Jesus had just called five of his disciples before going to a wedding that he and his mother had been invited to attend. I know that weddings during this time were events that occurred over a span of a week with a lot of feasting and festivities. It was a celebration of two families joining and didn’t necessarily focus on the bride and groom alone. At some point during the festivities, but obviously not at the end, they ran out of wine. This must be families that Mary was close to because she became aware of the situation and instructed the servants to do whatever her son told them to do.

But before we get to that, Mary tells Jesus there is no more wine, and he says basically what concern was it of theirs. He also told her that his time had not come. Jesus addresses his mother as “Dear Woman.” (Now being the mother to a little boy, it would kill me if Pearce addressed me as Woman. “Mom” is a title I treasure and cherish, and I didn’t find anywhere in the Bible where Jesus ever calls Mary, “Mom.”) This was a term I did some searching on and seeking answers because my mother’s heart went out to Mary. When Jesus said, “Dear Woman,” it was out of affection and honor that he spoke to Mary. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, Jesus looks down at Mary and says, “Dear Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple,” (whom He loved) “Here is your mother.” Jesus loved His momma, girls. He did.

I love what happens next because Mary acts like a momma. While respecting Jesus’ request she still insisted he do something. She told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. She didn’t tell the Master of Ceremony or the one in charge of the wedding feast. She didn’t make a big, grandiose statement drawing attention to her Son, the Savior. She told the servants. Now, my next question is, “What was Mary expecting Jesus to do exactly?” He hadn’t done any miracles before. It’s not like she wanted him to drive down to the Piggly Wiggly and get some more. What was Mary wanting Jesus to do? She might not have known how Jesus was going to fix the problem, but she knew if anyone could, the Son of God would know the answer. The SON OF GOD, her baby boy! HUGE!!!!!

The next thing that caught my eyes was the number of stone water jugs – six (one short of completion). Jesus perfected the water and changed it into wine. He is the completer in this story. There’d be no story if He didn’t complete it.

Jesus told the servant to fill the ceremonial pots with water. These had probably been emptied when the servants washed the feet of those who attended the wedding. The water was used to wash the hands of the guests before dining at the feasts, and now they sat empty, unused. You know what caught my attention now? The servants filled the pots to the brim. (Fill it to the rim with Brim. Do you remember that commercial from back in the day? The commercial was used to encourage people to fill their cups up with this hearty, tasty, flavorful coffee every morning.) I wonder how often when Jesus leads me to do a thing, do I fill it up to the brim expecting him to completely and totally deliver. Or do I just fill it up most of the way so I won’t be disappointed if things don’t pan out? I set myself up to fail because of my lack of faith, but these servants were in dier need and filled up to the brim.

The servants drew some water out of the jug and somewhere between there and the lips of the head waiter or master of ceremony, the water was turned into wine. The next thing that draws my eye is the statement from the master of ceremonies, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” When Jesus saves the day, He brings His best regardless if it is at the beginning or the end. The phrase “saving the best for last” is sticking in my head for some reason.

And finally, the disciples were able to see Jesus’ nature revealed, and they believed. I wonder how often the disciples reflected on these miracles to comfort them when things got difficult.

One last question, what is the significance of Jesus performing his first miracle at a wedding ceremony? What does that say?

Now, I want you to go back and read it with your imagination. Put yourself in different people’s shoes. Read it as a love letter from God to his Bride, the church, to you – what does He want you to get out of this?

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