A recent Facebook post by one of our RevGal’s provoked me to read my very first Kate Braestrup book, “Here If You Need Me.” I wrote to that RevGal and told her that I was mostly grateful, considering that reading the book had reduced me to weeping followed by other occasions of laughing out loud. In a timely manner, I appreciate Braestrup’s reflection on miracles, especially when she writes,
A miracle is not defined by an event. A miracle is defined by gratitude.
No doubt in my mind that the mother of Jesus wanted to save a wedding party and knew that her son could do it. If I’m honest I have to admit that this story in the Gospel of John cracks me up. I wonder, how did the mother of Jesus know that he could do this? Did she have experience of him doing similar things at the dinner table? I can just imagine the family gathered around for a meal and Jesus playfully changes the water or the milk or the juice into wine and the mother of Jesus just rolls her eyes and thinks, he’s doing it again….or maybe she’s exhausted from tending to a sick child and Jesus comes home from playing with his friends and heals his sibling, and she thinks, finally! I wish you’d come home a few hours ago… I mean, surely the mother of Jesus had experience with her son, doing this sort of thing on a regular basis, which she took for granted. A knowledge which assured her that he could save the wedding. This mother of Jesus knew her son and encouraged him to claim his identity fully. I imagine that although Jesus responded grudgingly, in the end he was grateful for this gentle push from his mother. Her trust in him helped him recognize what God was doing inside, how God was preparing him and cultivating his identity. Her confidence helped him claim himself.
Whenever, however, one is able to claim one’s true self, there is cause for joy and gratitude.
This is perhaps the challenge of the church today – who are we? What is our identity today? What is our mission?
I suggest that the miracle of the wedding feast of Cana is an invitation for the church to claim its identity in hope, in joy, in gratitude, rather than in fear and angst over whether we will live. Live or not, there is still much to grateful for. Perhaps finding that gratitude is the miracle of our day?
Welcome to the preacher party. I’ll be here most of the day (except for three hours when I’ll be at the church for a Vestry meeting that will finalize the budget, most likely another deficit budget…for which finding gratitude may be miraculous..but I just don’t have the energy to get anxious about it. It is what it is). Anyway, I’ll be here with lots of coffee and tea and the last remnants of Christmas cookies…pull up a chair, because we’re here if you need us, so let’s party!