Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sermon for 1/19/20: Second Sunday After the Epiphany

RIGHT-CLICK HERE to save the audio file.

Wine in Plenty

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

He had been baptized. He had already called some of His disciples. And yet, at the wedding in Cana, our Lord’s hour had not come. His patient mother Mary, having waited all those years, had asked for nothing. She only made a simple observation to her Son: “They have no wine.” And for this prayer, she is rebuked: “O woman! What have you to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
Mary’s life is a life of faith. She must trust that God is good, even when it seems that He is not. She has no right to complain, and so she doesn’t. She recognized that He was the only One who could help. She had faith. And this is the life of faith on this side of glory. The old Adam needs to hear the Law, to be knocked down so that the Gospel might elevate the new man. This rebuke from her divine Son is not damnation. He rebukes her so that she might repent. And it works. Her faith is stronger for this preaching of the Law.
He did not promise a thing. Even so, she believes. She remembers that all things will be possible for Him. She knows that, whatever happens, He is God. He has come to save her. That is what matters. So she says to the servants, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” This is a clear confession of faith. And so it is that He relents. He makes glad the hearts of men. He brings order from chaos, joy from sadness, hope from dejection, wine from water, believers from unbelievers. He is the Creator, present in His creation to recreate it, to restore it, to redeem it! And His disciples believed in Him.
And what of us? How often have we prayed sad, melancholy prayers? Have often have we complained against God? How often have we bemoaned the fact that we are not richer, thinner, healthier, or better employed? How often have we led ourselves into the gloom of covetous depression, the jealousy that leaves us dissatisfied with what we have? How often have we moaned out the lament against the God of joy, “They have no wine”?
Repent. Repent, for we know that God is good. We know that His hour has come: nails were driven into His hands and feet, and finally a spear pierced His side; the sun went dark, the earth shook, and the dead rose. His hour is the hour He submitted to the death of the old Adam within all of us, so that the restored Adam, the baptized children of God, would live. He overcame that dark hour. He rose from the dead, giving us life and joy.
He will answer your prayers. He will even answer those you fail to pray. He prays for you! He makes glad the hearts of men. He gives wine. He knows what you need. He knows your heart’s desire. He knows what is best. He will teach you in the cross to have joy in sadness, triumph in defeat, and life in death. In your own crosses, your own suffering, your own obstacles and trials, you will learn to come to His cross. There you will find perfect joy and peace beyond measure. You will know that He is your only Joy, your only Hope. There—in Him, in His cross—you will find contentment.
He is still present in creation. He is with us always. His hour is delivered to us in the bloody water of Holy Baptism, in His crucified flesh and blood in the Holy Supper, in His Word of Holy Absolution. In these gifts, the fruits of His hour on the cross are poured forth to cleanse the dirty hearts of men, removing the sadness and the pain, making them glad again! You are united to Him in a bond that no one can sever. All good things are given to you, even His blessed Name. All shame, all guilt is removed. He does not fail. We have wine. Thanks be to God! 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: