Tuesday, 19 January 2016

On the third day...

Isaiah 62: 1-5, 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11, John 2: 1-11.
The poetry of Isaiah is vivid and really quite extraordinary. The prophesy for God’s  beleaguered and apparently abandoned people and land of Israel is this; God and his people will one day be married! God will marry his land and people which in the Old Testament are forever linked. The will become one instead of two even while they remain distinct from each other for let’s not forget that in Genesis 2:24 the definition of marriage is that a man and a woman will become “one flesh”. All the barriers will be broken down on some glorious future happy day when the people and God will come together at the instigation of God himself.
Let us fast forward 550 years to John’s gospel to one of the most beautifully crafted stories in the whole of the New Testament to a certain wedding at Cana in Galilee.
The story you heard this morning started “There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee”.
But the people who put together the lectionary have missed out the four most important words in the whole reading.
If you had a Bible in front of you right now, which as God is my witness you will have very soon and I asked you to turn to John chapter two you would have found that the first words of John 2 are actually “On the third day”.
“On the third day”.
Now what happened on the third day?
Yes, the resurrection of Jesus happened on the third day.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee
The story of the turning of water into wine is nothing less than the gospel in miniature. It is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the difference that makes to believers.  Removed from its context we are left with a cheap party trick.
 In John’s gospel there are no miracles, only signs, and signs always point to something else, something much deeper.
On the third day all the barriers were torn down between God and his people and the base water of our lives was transformed into rich wine.
The world looks different after the resurrection. For those who believe, We have seen the future in historical time. Our lives are enriched by the knowledge that God made us, sustains us and will raise us from the dead to eternal life. That is our future. God saved the good wine until last.
Seeing the world through the lens of the resurrection  is the difference between watching an event in Black and white and then seeing the same thing in glorious Technicolor. Our horizons are enlarged, our insight deepened, our actions gain an eternal dimension.
On the third day everything changed. The marriage that Isaiah prophesied about took place. All that separated God from humanity was torn down just as Matthew (27:51) described the curtain in the temple that divided the Holy Presence of God off from his people being torn apart from top to bottom in the Jerusalem Temple.
On the third day God married his people using the vivid poetry of Isaiah.
As Christians we are all born again into that relationship with God and today we are going to immerse a child into that same loving relationship bond – a bond that is unshakeable and eternal.
In our sign of baptism today a baby is going to be immersed in God’s love and we pray that she will grow into that relationship offered freely to her today.
The seal and guarantee of that relationship is God’s Holy Spirit who will work in her life guaranteeing that love and bestowing gifts of grace on here as he does on us.
Paul makes the point that it is the same Spirit but we are given diverse gifts in order that we become a balanced whole body.
His gifts are many and various and we pray that many gifts will be bestowed on her in her life.
All of here have been given gifts of Grace, and one of our jobs as a community is to discern and nurture those gifts lest we make God out to be a liar.
How many great and glorious gifts are laying dormant in such a large community as ours I wonder which just need to be discerned and encouraged?
She joins a church where all are one in the Spirit of God, because “on the third day” the marriage that Isaiah prophesied happened, and was described by John as a wedding that took place in Cana in Galilee.

Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and is alive and can because he is alive he can be experienced now and our lives transformed from water into rich wine.  

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