Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Second Sunday after the Epiphany, BCP 215)
Every three years we hear the story of Jesus going to the wedding feast in Cana. The story from the gospel of John only comes up in the Epiphany season. It is known as the first of the miracles Jesus performs in showing who he is in the world. The other gospel writers did not include this story in their books, but it is an important part of the structure and overarching story of the gospel of John.
The story is an interesting one. We never learn whose wedding it is, but it must have been someone well-known to Jesus' mother and her family. His mother has clout with the servants and instructs them what to do, despite Jesus telling her that it wasn't his time yet. Turning water into wine isn't actually all that miraculous, all you need to do so is some grapes, some yeast, and some time. Crush up some grapes, add some water, add the yeast, let it sit, and voila! Wine. Yet, the real miracle taking place isn't Jesus circumventing the natural processes of turning water into wine. The real miracle is Jesus himself, showing and sharing himself with ordinary people. God participating in the ordinary acts of humanity. That is the real miracle.
As we continue in this season of Epiphany, take moments to open your heart and eyes. Where is God participating in the ordinary acts of your day? Where has Jesus revealed himself to you? God is working in and around us all the time. Take a look, God is waiting to be found.
"Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."
(First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord, BCP 214)
As we move into the season after Epiphany, the seasonal emphasis of Jesus as a baby in Christmas changes to seeing Jesus start his ministry as a young man. We will hear the stories of Jesus starting his ministry, in starting to show the world who he really is. This coming Sunday we will hear the story of Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River.
In some ways this story is quite appropriate for the beginning of a New Year. Jesus starts out his new ministry, and we start a new year again. Both are the beginnings of journeys which will take us further than we expect. Jesus may have had some knowledge of what would happen throughout his ministry, and we have some knowledge of what may await us in this new year, but there are always surprises along the way.
As we start out again this year, we join together to give thanks for the companions along the way. This season we will hear the stories of Jesus finding his companions, and perhaps this year we will find new companions along our ways. Let us offer up gratitude for the new beginnings and the new companions God gives to us each day.
the room is full of truths
wandering through the minds
of people in their walking sleep
passing by unseen
dust in the wind
catch a breeze... and sneeze
your body may not like the truth
when it enters in.
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (The Feast of the Epiphany, BCP 214)
This coming Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany, which starts the season of Epiphany. Epiphany is a season of seeing God, seeing Jesus as truly divine and truly human, seeing God in creation, seeing the Holy Spirit in others. While seeing is one of our five basic senses as humans, in the Christian tradition, we talk about seeing going deeper. We see with our hearts, especially when it comes to God.
Being able to see beyond what is right in front of you is a gift from God. Having a vision of the future or of a ministry is a gift, not only personally, but also communally. In this season of Epiphany, I invite you into a season of visioning. Seeing beyond what is in front of us to seeing what God sees. God sees into our hearts, into our futures, into our nature. Through following Jesus and keeping close to the Holy Spirit, we too can see deeper and look with God's eyes. I invite you to join us in looking deeper this Epiphany.
"Dear People of God: In this Christmas Season, let it be our duty and delight to hear once more the message of the Angels, to go to Bethlehem and see the Son of God lying in a manger. Let us hear and heed in Holy Scripture the story of God's loving purpose from the time of our rebellion against him until the glorious redemption brought to us by his holy Child Jesus, and let us make this place glad with our carols of praise."
(A Bidding Prayer, BOS 39)
During these twelve days of Christmas, we cannot too often hear the story of Jesus' birth and entrance into this world. God loves us so much that he gave his son to be with us, and that is good news we need to hear over and over again. This coming Sunday, we will hear the story in nine lessons and sing joyously in praise of what God has done for us. In contrast to that beloved Christmas carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas, where the true love gives bounteous material gifts each day of the season of Christmas, our True Love, God, gives us abundant Love each and every day. Not just in these twelve days of the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. Such Good News deserves a festival of singing and praise.