John 2:1-11 (NRSV)
Chapter 2On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Verse 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. Verse 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." Verse 4And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." Verse 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Verse 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Verse 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. Verse 8He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. Verse 9When 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 Verse 10and 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." Verse 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
It’s like we have come full circle. If in our first reading this week Isaiah invited us to compare God’s rejoicing over each one of us as like a wedding celebration, now in the gospel we have arrived at an actual wedding—the familiar story of Jesus at a wedding at Cana.
So what are we to make of this story? We aren’t told much, not even the names of the bride and groom. Just that Jesus, Jesus’ mother, and Jesus’ disciples are there; and of all things the wine runs out! The rejoicing that befits any wedding is clearly at risk. And then Jesus comes to the rescue. A miracle? In John’s story it’s called a “sign”—the “first” of the signs that Jesus will do along the way. John earlier wrote “the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Enough for the moment to imagine that Jesus’ presence can transform sadness into joy. It is about the rejoicing that belongs to the story of God’s way with God’s people at a central moment of their human story.
O God of Rejoicing, we give thanks that in the gift of Jesus your Son you have become present with us to mark each of our days, and the important moments of our lives, with the sounds and the spirit of rejoicing. For in your presence among us is our true joy. Amen.