Today's Lectionary Text
John 2:1-11On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When 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 and 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.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Have you ever been a “secret pal” – secret Santa, sister, brother, Valentine? It is such a fun thing. It’s a challenge to sneak around and leave little uplifting quotes or small gifts, and not be discovered. It brings joy to someone else and laughter to the gift-giver.
Secrets. Surprises. They can be scary, bad things that need to be avoided. Or, they might be positive things, like the secret pal. They can have a bit more significance and depth, as in this passage from John’s Gospel. It describes Jesus changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana. His actions offer some clues about how to live and act as disciples. First, he performed an act that would maintain a family’s honor. The bridegroom and his family would have been disgraced had the wine supply been depleted totally. Jesus’ action allowed the groom and the family to continue to occupy a respected place in the community.
In addition, the wine was good quality wine. There was plenty of it with those six water jars. Jesus demonstrated generosity; he provided abundantly. It was a gift, perhaps even pointing to the generosity and extravagance of God’s pure gift of grace.
Then, Jesus performed this transformation without fanfare, basically in secret. It was a surprise to the chief steward and to the groom. Jesus was being helpful and caring without seeking personal recognition. It was one of those good secrets.
How can this story shape our actions today? In what ways can we bring honor to others or provide generously for folk in need?
Talking positively about another in public seems like an obvious answer. It is so easy to enumerate all the faults of another, especially when not in their presence. Practice listing good qualities instead. Just giving another an “atta girl” or “nice going, man” is easy enough.
Providing generously might be another way to follow Jesus’ example. That will not mean the same “amount” for each of us, but it does provide a reminder that we might honestly assess what we do not need, and then find a place to give the extra.
When we do these things, being recognized for our effort is not important. It does not matter. Who cares who did it? Did someone have a need met? Was someone’s life made better? Was faith passed on?
Be a secret pal to someone today. Enjoy sharing from what you have. Giggle a little as you brighten another one’s day. Share God’s love.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Diaconal Minister
Prayer for Reflection
Glorious God, Thank you for all the gifts you give. Help us to share willingly and generously with others, giving gladly. As we delight in you, show us opportunities to pass that delight on. Amen.
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