Monday, January 19, 2015

Sermon for 1/18/15: Epiphany 2



Water, Wine, Blood

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

In the Gospel of St. John, our Lord had been baptized in the Jordan River. After forty days of being tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He began His public ministry. The first miracle that Jesus ever did was done at the wedding in Cana! He took simple water and turned it into the finest of wines! Jesus at the Table takes six stone jars, instructs the servants to fill them up with water, and He makes it into wine better than even the stuff they used for the toast.

Mary was worried about the absence of wine. It was a major social faux-pas, to run out of wine at a wedding party that was going on for days! What a way to start off a marriage! But Mary went to Jesus. Mary had received the Promise God had made to Eve when the angel came and told Mary she would have a Son. How could a marriage party end so early when the Son of God was sitting at the Table? Mary went to Jesus. Jesus asks, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” It’s not His time. But when the time comes—when He dies—He will pour His everlasting wine out for salvation. He’ll set a Table with the best of meats and finest of wines.

Jesus didn’t come to rescue wedding parties. But the trouble that a married couple had, Jesus used it to make something clear: He came to pour Himself out for your forgiveness, life, and salvation. He came to put Himself into the midst of all your worries—even ones so trivial as a lack of wine. Nothing about you is beyond His care, not even the way you start off marriage or the way you live as man and wife. Dear Christian, if you are scratching your heads over the stone jars in your life, over the absence of wine and joy and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and self-control; if you are bothered by the words by which St. Paul turns wives to husbands in submission and husbands to their wives in self-sacrificing love; then learn from Mary. Turn to the servant of the Lord which Jesus has placed in your midst—turn to your pastor—and tell him, “Do whatever He tells you.

Mary instructing the servants is a good example of the way the Church should remind the servants of Christ, His pastors, to do whatever He tells them. He tells your pastor to preach His Word and teach it. He tells your pastor to hear your confession and put all your sins and worries under His Holy Absolution. He tells your pastor to serve you with His Body and His Blood in bread and wine. He insists that the Wedding Party of the Lamb go on until it starts in full when Jesus comes again in glory. He knows your life is lived in dryness sometimes. He knows you wander in the wilderness this side of heaven. He knows that you’ve got more to worry over than a social faux-pas. You’ve got sins. So, the Church says to Her ministers: “Do whatever He tells you.” And so, you’re served!

You are served with the finest feast Jesus could deliver. From His side flowed water and blood. He filled up the font of Holy Baptism to wash you clean and prepare you for the eternal banquet. And with His blood He has filled the chalice, giving us His body in the bread and His blood in wine, so that you eat and drink your life, forgiveness, and salvation at this Table. With these, Christ for you is also in you, to work and to labor and to bear abundant fruit. Christ is in you, for the sake of one another, making sure the wedding party does not end. Taste and see that the Lord is good. He is…better than you can possibly believe. And now that His hour has come, He never tires of proving how good He is. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen. 

No comments: