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Preachers, it is the second Sunday after Epiphany (you may find the texts here), and we are still in posture of exploration and discovery. Now that Christ has come and has been revealed to us, we’re still coming to understand what that means.

I’m very much attracted to the story of the wedding at Cana, mainly because I think we tend to miss its humor. Here we have a mother essentially pushing her son into helping out. She comes to him and simply says, “They have no wine.” After he (fruitlessly) protests, she ignores him and says to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you [emphasis mine].” Jesus is put on the spot by his mama! Not only that, but apparently he creates a superb vintage from not just any kind of water, but ceremonial washing water — not intended for drinking — a miracle indeed! There’s a lot of humor in this familiar story that might lend itself to some powerful preaching.

What does the use and transformation of non-potable water into great wine in this miracle suggest about Jesus’ ministry? What of Mary’s involvement? What could we draw from her maternal meddling? A sister-friend intends to relate this story to the current crisis in Flint, Michigan here in the U.S., which is suffering from dangerous lead levels in its water supply. Flint is largely working class, and the state has been slow to respond to the crisis. What hermeneutical application could the text have for this situation?

Maybe you’re not even touching the wedding at Cana. Maybe you’re preaching on spiritual gifts and using 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 to exhort your congregation to walk in their gifts. Many of us are having our annual meetings around this time of year and electing officers. Surely, that would be a timely message for your context.

Maybe you’re preaching from the Trito-Isaiah text, where Judah’s restoration from a very long exile is in view. That text is filled with hope and may have some value if you have been ushering your congregation through a difficult time (who isn’t?!?).

I tend to weave the Psalm into the liturgy, but there is a powerfully inclusive tone in Psalm 36 that might have some preaching potential for you. God’s salvation is extended to humans and animals alike. All are able to find refuge under God’s wings. Here in the U.S., President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address tonight, in which he is expected to talk about immigration, Syrian refugees, same-sex marriage, and undoubtedly a number of other issues related to the vision of a wider circle. I imagine some of us may find ourselves addressing the same issues in our sermons as a way of relating current events to the text.

There is much to imbibe from this week’s readings. What about you? Where are you leaning in your sermon crafting? What text is speaking loudest to you right now?

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15 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: And Not a Drop to Drink

  1. Lots of wonderful options in the RCL texts this week, and ordinarily I would jump right into that wedding at Cana and explore the playful good news. But this is the first Sunday of my leavetaking processs, as I’ve just sent out the letter to church members that I’ve been called to serve another church. I’d welcome any thoughts about how to use these texts for comfort and encouragement–the church I’m leaving is very small, yet we’ve got a great “vitality team” doing community outreach and they do have the potential to grow.

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  2. I am definitely going with the gospel. How? I do not know this part, but I love your line about “non-potable water into vintage wine” thought….

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  3. All of these texts (and the current nature of my congregation) seem to be pointing me in the direction of recognizing God’s abundance, rather than focusing on the myth of scarcity that seems to inform so much of life in the US. The re-naming of the people of God in Isaiah, the abundant love of the Psalm, the giving of spiritual gifts to all in the epistle, the fun abundance of really good wine in the gospel… I’m still figuring out how all that gets woven in, but I think that’s where I’m headed.

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    1. Your plan for this week reminds me of 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

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  4. Using the Cana text. Looking at the fear of scarcity. Not enough. I’m thinking of tying it into the whole Powerball craze and the mindset of sharing out of great abundance rather than sharing out of what one has…sharing our best.

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  5. Ooo, Revmom2 – great idea on the powerball thing. I was heading in the abundance direction, like Melissa, but didn’t think of that. Maybe it will find it’s way in now…

    I’m finding I’m having a hard time finding any helpful info on Why this sign took place in Cana – other than that is seems to have been quite remote. Anyone have a resource (even a paragraph or two would help) that describes what we know about Cana?

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  6. Also going with the Gospel. My title is “Glory Revealed”, from the last verse: He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. Exploring how he revealed his glory in the details of the text. How does he reveal it now? Thoughts?

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  7. I’m drawing links between the gospel and epistle, focussing on the concept of ‘glory’. We are told that providing wine to already merry people at a celebration is a sign of God’s Glory… Doesn’t seem like the usual thing we think of! What Jesus brought was joy, which seems to be an under recognised gift. Who in our lives has the gift of bringing joy? What other hidden ways is God’s glory revealed?

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  8. I am just now thinking that Jesus’ glory was revealed making sure that another was not shamed for running out of wine…….hmmmmm

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  9. I’m going with the Corinthians text and how God equips us for his purposes. Calling it “How It’s Made” (“It'” being the church.) Everybody has a part to play.

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  10. I guess I should have posted this here:

    May plan has been to focus on the gospel. I’m struggling with what to say to a congregation which will be reminded of the fact that the 38 year old son of a couple in the congregation died unexpectedly just after Christmas and this is their first Sunday back home after the death and that an 80 year old woman from the congregation was killed by a hit and run driver while out walking – and was seen by several members of the congregation who live in the same strata (read condo project). I’d be much more comfortable if it were a funeral.

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  11. “My time has not yet come.” How often does a congregation say, in effect, it’s not time for us to move into this new life and role for which God has been forming us? “We don’t want this new identity.”

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