Saturday, 29 January 2011

it isn't a proper wedding if there isn't a fight

As the evening of my niece's wedding drew to a close, I turned to my sister and said, "What a fabulous wedding. Everything went so well." She agreed, but added, "Hardly a proper Glasgow wedding though, was it? There wasn't a fight."

Setting aside the question of how deserved is the city of my birth's reputation, for most us weddings are more probably associated with joy, love and hope for the future.

So it is fitting that John's gospel records Jesus' first miracle as taking place with these happy themes as the backdrop at the wedding in Cana. The miracle of water turned into wine (John 2.1-11) tells us much about God's generosity - the wine is of the very best quality. And the quantity is silly: gallons and gallons of it. We catch something of the abundance with which God lavishes his grace on us - such extravagance, so much more than we could ever need. God's well of love never runs dry.

The image of water into wine also speaks of the way God offers us the means to be transformed. The ordinariness of plain water turned into the finest of vintage wines reminds us that God invites us to open our lives to his transforming power and love so that we can be renewed. "Changed from glory into glory," as the hymn writer Charles Wesley puts it. God's abundant grace helps us go from strength to strength as we move towards wholeness and fullness of life.

Each Sunday we continue to use wine as a way of remembering the abundance of God's generous love, as we participate in the holy feast of the Eucharist.