Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

Mom Knows Best

January 20th:

Mom Knows Best
Call:       1 Corinthians 12: 1-11
Text:       John 2: 1-11
Read:   Litany of Christian Unity (556)

                Mom Knows Best

One of the great stories in the Bible
is the story of Jesus turning water into wine
at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.

I doubt that there are many here who have not heard the story.

In fact, most who have heard it
    Could do a decent job of standing up here
    And relating the story to the rest of us.

despite the greatness of the story
    This is only the third time in 18 years
That I have elected to use it as my text.

You see, the spiritual gifts scripture from 1 Corinthians
The scripture that called us to worship this morning -
Is a suggested scripture
    On the same days as the Cana wedding scripture is suggested.

It is hard to ignore the words that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth
    Both because of their importance
    And because of the fact they so easily lend themselves to being preached.

Because of that, this is the first time
That I have addressed the Cana wedding scripture
Since I became pastor of this congregation.

And as I thought about that this week,
    I started feeling like  maybe I have cheated you
Not to a Lance Armstrong degree of cheating
But     a bit.

For the story of Jesus turning water into wine
Is the story of Jesus' first miracle

There are a lot of messages and a lot of lessons in the story:

Because it was his first miracle
    It can be seen as the beginning of his ministry
And the initial confirmation of his being the messiah.

Thus, we could talk about that
    And reflect on its historical and theological importance.

Another approach to the scripture would be
to reflect on how wine in Christ's day was an essential part
of the most important ceremonies and occasions.

And if we were to combine this story with the story of the last supper
We would find
That the wine was essential for the wedding which marked the beginning of his ministry;     and
    That the wine was essential for the Passover meal that marked the end of his ministry
    The meal at which - just hours before his arrest -
        He announced his upcoming death and betrayal.

Wine in Christ's day signified an important event
And we continue to recognize that importance
in our communion celebrations.

Now, the water jugs in the story were for use in a Jewish purification ritual;

And so, recognizing that at the last supper
    The wine was used to represent Christ's blood
We would be compelled to appreciate
        That the blood of Jesus     purified us.

Another take on the story
 would be to tie it in with the water of the baptism
    Which we celebrated last week.

The fact that Christ took the water at the wedding
    And transformed it into something else - wine
Teaches us that Christ can take the water of our baptism
And transform us into something else.

Still another approach is to consider how these jugs probably held 30 gallons of water
    And realize that the six jugs thus became 180 gallons of wine
        Far more than the party needed.

The message from that observation would have been
That there was noooo way the host was going to run out of wine
    Just as there is noooo way that Christ is going to run out of grace, mercy, and love.

Finally, we could use this scripture to illustrate
    The humility of Jesus
        Who never sought credit for doing this
        Choosing instead to let the compliments flow    to the host

Our conclusion would have been obvious:
If Jesus could be that humble
    Then what is our excuse when we are not.

And as we hear the story, we can hear all those lessons.

But there is something else in this story that provoked my mind
    Something else that I felt called to reflect on

I'll share that with you
    But first, let's rehear the story itself    [John 2: 1-11]

When we hear the story
    We can hear, see, and receive all those lessons that we mentioned

But what gets me    What jabbed and provoked me is Mary's role.

She comes to her son and informs him
    "They have no wine."

Now parents have ways of expressing themselves to their children
And their children know what they mean.

You and I can, however, read the words that Mary said with different tones

"They have no wine" can be read as, Simple information
as in [descriptive informative tone]

"They have no wine" can be read as, Surprise
as in   [surprised tone]

"They have no wine" can be read as, A complaint
as in [complaining tone followed by]    "and I want another drink!"

"They have no wine" can be read as, Disgust
as in [disgusted tone followed by]
        "I can't believe how poorly they planned"

I imagine there are other ways we can read these words
    But Jesus knew his mother
    And, I'll bet he had heard her tone before

He knew what she meant.     He heard her saying,
"They have no wine.  Do something about it.  Help them out."
And he responded (in essence)
    "But Mom, I can't, for my hour to do things has not yet come."

But Mom knew better.

I picture her staring right at him
    With a look that perhaps only a mother can give
And then without saying anything to him
    Turning to the servants
    Saying,     "Do whatever he tells you"
    And walking away, rejoining the party.

Then I picture Jesus shaking his head
in both amazement and amusement
and resigned to doing what his mother had told him to do
    took care of the absence of the festival drink
        by turning water into wine.

If we didn't understand before
why God chose Mary to be the mother of the messiah
we do now.

At the wedding in Cana, God spoke to Jesus through Mary
    Saying what amounted to,
    "Well kid, its time for you to start using the gifts I gave you.

The point that I hear being made through this story
    Is that sometimes   God speaks to us through other people.

I'll bet that upon reflection, every one of us
can think of times when God spoke to us through someone else.

I am convinced that in 1994,
God spoke to me through a Baptist pastor by the name of Dolores Cottet
    Who, at a chance meeting,
 told me that she was praying that I enter the ministry

Like Jesus who had no intention of taking care of the wine problem
    I had no intention of entering the ministry
        I laughed and I protested
But not much more than a year later I was the pastor in Jordanville.

I am convinced that in 2008,
    God spoke to me through Harvey Smith who told me I should attend the Dave Ramsey class he was about to lead.

I had no more intention of attending that class
 than Jesus had of turning the water into wine

Unlike Mary, Harvey didn't walk away, he persisted
    I finally resigned myself to attending the class
And within a few months the weight of economic pressure began to let up
    Allowing me to do more freely what I had been called to do.

And I am convinced that in the Fall of 1982
    God spoke to me through Marge's cousin
Whose actions and words said that she wanted me to "meet" her cousin.
Once I met her cousin, I didn't protest
    Instead I married her
    And in Marge
God gave me a partner

who provided the support and encouragement that I needed
to answer the call that I accepted
        Once I listened to  rather than laughed at
     the words I heard 12 years later through that Baptist pastor

        and a partner whose frequent questions and observations
    (as well as occasional comments that I didn't want to hear)
have enabled me to serve effectively

There are a lot of lessons in this story
    But the one about God speaking to us through others
        Is the one that shouted out to me

For when we recognize that God is indeed speaking through them,
We discover that they,
like the Mom in the story,
do know best.

Paul could add this gift of God's using others around us
    To the list he gave to the Corinthians
    In the scripture that called us to worship.

And some day when I meet Paul
    I'll tell him that he should have done that.