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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