The world-bending words at the beginning of John’s Gospel announce the incarnation of God—Christ on earth walking in neighborhoods and the countryside. The Messiah among us, the Word become flesh—what could this mean? “Come and see,” Jesus says. In the Gospel of John, he wastes no time finding followers. A ministry of action is underway. Soon he will scatter the moneychangers, teach, heal, forgive, and turn fatefully toward Jerusalem. But not yet.
First, he shows up at a wedding—the Anointed One enjoying the moment, seemingly at rest before he moves on to the convulsive dramas that await. This episode of turning water into wine comes first, as if to reassure us that the bewildering idea of the Lord incarnate isn’t incomprehensible after all but at home among everyday human celebrations.
Wherever Jesus walked he was an awakener, stirring the heart’s capacity to recognize Christ and respond to him. And so we incarnate the news ourselves. He moves through the world, gathering witnesses, followers—and also denials. He exposes hardened attitudes, urges self-examination, and confronts our resistance to our own redemption, our own potential.
Believers turn water into wine every day, whenever they regard creation as something more than the play of biological elements or the exercise of ruthless power. Creation is the place where incarnation can unfold and meet each person’s suffering. It’s the field of the Almighty’s acts. When people regard life on earth as living proof of God’s care and existence, then grace overflows.
O God, through your incarnation we are shown truth on earth, a way forward with compassion and courage through the shadow of death and into resurrection light. Amen.
Popular conceptions of God sometimes mislead us. Messages coming even from within Christianity sometimes make us think that God is constantly angry, just waiting for us to slip up. This week’s readings remind us of the truth. Isaiah teaches us that God delights in God’s people just as a groom delights in his bride. This love, the psalmist proclaims, is steadfast and never-ending. The life of Jesus shows us that God even wants us to have a good time in this life. Jesus chooses a wedding as the place to perform his first sign. He multiplies the wine in order to multiply the enjoyment of the guests. Paul in First Corinthians speaks of spiritual gifts. These gifts are all given by God for the good of the entire community.
Read Isaiah 62:1-5. Recall a time when you have flourished and a time when your life was far from peace and order. How did you feel God’s delight in each situation?
Read Psalm 36:5-10. When have you felt God’s light or taken refuge in the shadow of God’s wings?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. How can you use your God-given gifts to complement others’ and to support the common good?
Read John 2:1-11. How do Jesus’ miracles help you to understand his identity as the Son of God?
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