The Last Snowflake

snowflakes

Will we know when the last snowflake falls?

Will we know when the last songbird sings?

When the last squirrel discovers the last acorn?

When the last bullfrog belches its final love song

to a dark reflection of itself in a polluted puddle?

When neither the chicken nor the egg remains?

 When possums aren’t playing dead?

 Will we notice when bees cease to buzz?

When the blaze of green, red, blue, and purple spring becomes brown and burnt sienna?

 Will we care?

Will our descendants live in Hobbit homes covered by decimated dirt

buried beneath Earth’s burned skin afraid to walk freely in the sun?

Will we burrow our way through Earth’s drying corpse,

seeking some sort of subsistence in our celestial victim’s body?

 Will all creatures great and small exist only on museum walls?

 Will we know when the last human dies?

Will Earth sigh with relief

or like Romeo and Juliet

 star-crossed

will long-suffering Earth make one last arid exhalation

joining us in extinction

leaving only ash and dust

commingled

 in Memoriam.

Will God weep?

Send angels to carry us to eternal sleep?

Or will God turn away

go somewhere else to play

with no one left to pray for a better day?

 Will we know when the last memory fades to gray?

 Will there be anyone left to say

Remember when?

 

Remember when the last snowflake fell?

 

Remember?

Sermon: Consider the Lilies

tiger lilies

Matt 6: 25 – 34

Like Advent, Lent is a time of preparation and anticipation.  We prepare ourselves to once again bear witness to Jesus Crucifixion, and we prepare our hearts for the joy of Easter resurrection.  One of our ways of preparing is with our most essential spiritual practice, praying.

That is why one of our themes for Lent is “Pray without Ceasing.”  Prayer is one of our most important faith practices and sometimes it’s also the hardest one for us to do.  So for Lent, we will be exploring many of the different ways we can pray and we will reflect on some of the things that get in the way of us praying.

Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life…”  And there is one of our great emotional obstructions.  Worry.  Too much worrying can inhibit our ability to live more in the moment, to live with appreciation, and to live with joy.

Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life….Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them…consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin…how much more will God care for you?”

It’s easy to say, “do not worry…” but it seems that there is just so much to worry about these days. We worry about our finances, our savings, our college and retirement funds.  We worry about looking for jobs and we worry about keeping our jobs. We worry about budget cuts in our towns, cities, and states.

We worry about the discord and chaos in our government especially with the animosity and chaos we are already seeing in this election year. We worry about who the next president will be and what it will mean for us as a people and as a country.

We worry about Isis, Syria, South Korea, the Saudis, Afghanistan…and our own backyard terrorists…

We worry about our health and well being.  We worry about our medical coverage.

We worry about snow and ice dams, flooding and rain, and drought and heat waves.  We worry about climate change. We worry about our kids, our parents, our families, our friends, and our neighbors.

We worry, worry, worry….

Pervasive worry can almost become a physical presence, entering and filling our whole body with darkness.  Science has proven that stress and anxiety take a physical toll on us, it strains our hearts, disrupts our sleep, causes us to eat more, drink more, and medicate more.  And worry just makes us worry more…..

Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life.”

So, let us consider the lilies of the field for a moment.  Or better yet, a field full of lilies.  Tall, bright orange Tiger lilies.  Or, lemon yellow lilies glowing like splashes of sunlight strewn through the garden.  Or luscious, white lilies that will soon fill our Sanctuary with the fragrant scent of Easter Resurrection.

There is a stand of bright, orange, tiger lilies, in my neighbors front yard.  Those lilies spend their day straining to reach towards the sun.  Each bell-shaped blossom, sitting atop a long, stout stem, follows the sun as it travels through the sky.

On cloudy days, the lilies heads droop a bit, melancholy and morose, waiting for the clouds to clear so the sun’s bright light can and lift them up again.  I have seen lilies flattened by wind and rain, rise up again with the coming of the sun.So, consider the dedication of those tiger lilies in following God’s sun.

Consider the plucky urban flower that, against all odds, burrows a way through the minutest of cracks in the hardened concrete and pokes and pries its way out into the light of day.  Consider the tenacity of the alpine flower, clinging to an inhospitable mountain side, drawn from the darkness, into the light.

A few years ago, we cleaned out our front beds and hauled the dirt and mulch into the woods behind our house.  Apparently, I had missed a few of the tulip bulbs because out amongst the pines and skunk cabbage, there are several bright red tulips that each year herald the coming of spring. Consider the persistence of those tulips, displaced as they were, continuing to grow towards the light.

Jesus invites us to trust in God, to trust that God will provide for us.  Jesus invites us to find peace in giving tomorrow AND today into God’s loving hands.  Jesus invites us to let go and let God, to release what it is that would rob our lives of peace and joy.  Jesus urges us to give it all back to God who gives us all we have in the first place.

Let us not just consider the lilies of the field, let us try to emulate them by focus ourselves on always straining towards the light of God’s beloved SON, and turning our lives to follow where ever God’s light leads us…having the tenacity to persevere against great odds, and persisting even when we find ourselves tossed into unfamiliar circumstances.

And, like the lilies….

Do not worry about tomorrow!  

The gift of this day in God’s creation is treasure enough!

 

 

 

Mourn-ing: Sorrowing or Lamentation

green-funerals-green-resting-place

It can be jarring to come home from a funeral service.
Eyes dry and burning
from endless weeping

and hear children playing outside.

Sitting inside the closed tomb of my house
I throw open the windows
to let their joy and laughter

come inside

To fill the newly empty place
inside me
with

Hope.

In the midst of life
is death.

In the midst of death
is life.

Breathe

in and out

Creation’s song
of life.

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted…to comfort all who mourn…to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning…” 

(ex. Isaiah 61: 1 – 3)

Me and My Good Friend, Job, Sitting in the Ashes…Again

152Jacob’s Blessing*

Is that IT?

 That I want someone to tell me

that this gets easier?

 This wrestling with the Word

This wrestling with God

Wrestling with what I believe

or

do not

believe

on any given day.

 

Each and every day

faced with

 Choosing…

 again

and

again

 Choosing…

 

Choosing Faith

Choosing Hope

Choosing to be vulnerable

Choosing uncertainty

unknowing

bewildering

and baffling

 

unclarity

 

Choosing

to follow

 

Jesus.

 

JESUS!

 

Will it always be this

wrestling match

through the long night?

 

Sometimes surrendering

Sometimes resisting

 

Always

 clinging

with grim determination

 

Always

walking away

wounded

 

Always

 aching

and broken

 and sometimes…

 

……and sometimes….

some

 times

 

walking away

 

Blessed.

*”Jacob’s Blessing”

A “Fabrication” by C. Steinbrecher

Genesis 32:22 – 29

         Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.  He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.

          Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.  When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 

          Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.”  But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”  So he said to him, “What is your name?”  And he said, “Jacob.” 

          Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”  Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”  But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” 

 And there he blessed him.

 

Sermon: While He Was Praying

Transfiguration 2 sunburst

Transfiguration

Luke 9:28 – 43

Do you ever have a morning when you wake up and you just want to stay in bed?  Maybe a day like yesterday with that cozy, thick, thermal blanket of snow coating everything…a perfect day to stay and linger under the covers, warm and protected.  A day when it takes a great effort to step out of bed and into the work and challenges of the day.

Or, Have you ever lingered in the theatre at the end of a really good movie?  Every Christmas for three years, I went with two of Bob’s brothers to see the newest episode of Lord of the Rings.  The music and visuals were so captivating that I was transported for 3 hours.  The three of us would sit there all the way through the credits until the very last note of the music stopped playing.  And even then, we would sigh, and sit a little longer….in silence.  We didn’t want to leave that world.  We weren’t ready to move on.

When I used to ski, the best part for me was the view from the top of the mountain.  I would get off the lift and ski over to some little flat place and drink in the beauty of the cold, crisp air, the majesty of the mountains, the endurance of the old gnarled pines, all pointing towards the infinitely deep blue sky.

I was never in a hurry to descend back down the mountain into the frothing flow of humanity lining up for the lifts, packing the cafeteria, clomping and bumping, boisterous, noisy and demanding, and sometimes, simply overwhelming.

Is that how Jesus felt?

In this moment of blazing light and revealed glory?  Do you think he wanted to linger awhile in God’s cloud, clinging to God’s presence, and be warm and protected?  For just a few more moments?  Does Peter tempt Jesus to linger in this sacred moment with his offer to build 3 booths and with his exuberant exclamation of awe-filled delight…”it is GOOD for us to be HERE!”

It’s not always easy coming back to the real world – sticky underfoot, trash strewn about, people shoving and jostling, noisy and demanding.  How much better to be like Puss and Boots and just magically skip from mountain top to mountain top and have all the glory with none of the hard work to be found down in the valleys, down among disgruntled, desperate, needy, complicated, and annoying people.

Poor Jesus.

He “went up on the mountain to pray, and while he was praying, the appearance of his face changes”...was it Exultant? Ecstatic?  Joyful?  Was he laughing?  How often do you imagine Jesus laughing?  His clothes become dazzling white…and in the midst of this blazing glory, Moses and Elijah appear and speak with Jesus about what lies ahead for him.  They talk with him about ‘his departure which he was to soon accomplish in Jerusalem’.

Talk about a buzzkill…talk about having to wake-up to harsh reality…

Poor Jesus.

Maybe Moses and Elijah are offering words of encouragement to get him through what is coming; just as Jesus has given Peter, John, and James this glimpse of glory, to give them encouragement for what lies ahead for them.

Jesus went up the mountain to pray, he brings Peter, John and James.  And while he is praying, he is transformed.  While he is praying, Jesus is transfigured, and the disciples can SEE the light of his Spirit pouring out of him.  I don’t think the light stops flowing when the disciples stop seeing it.  I think that light of Spirit is always flowing from Jesus…It is just that “since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory.” 

In a moment of spiritual wakefulness…there is a clarity of seeing what must always be there…that light of Spirit shining out into the world, a light that is revealed to them and transforms how they see Jesus…for a moment, transforms how they SEE.

 All this, while Jesus is praying….

Jesus is equipping the disciples for what lays ahead the best way he knows how…by demonstrating for them the power of praying….

So caught up in the moment, Peter is overcome by the impulse to “do,” to do something to capture this moment…it is so hard for Peter to simply “be” in that moment.  It’s the Martha/Mary challenge, learning to pause in those sacred moments when you catch a glimpse of glory…a hint of the holy…It’s important to stop and savor those moments because they don’t last for long.  Like Manna, you can’t put them in a box and keep them for later.  You have trust in God that there will be more of those moments along life’s journey.

Peter is inspired and moved to “do”…Jesus teaches us that sometimes it’s ok, more than ok, that it’s necessary and awesome to just “be” in a moment…We cling to our moments of glory because we don’t want to hurry back down the mountain into the frothing flow of humanity, bumping and grating against each other in the struggles of every day.

Even Jesus, when he comes down the mountain, vents his frustration at the inability of those he left behind to take care of people while he was gone.  Jesus knows that all too soon, they will have to carry on without him…

He comes down from sacred ground into the muddy, murky reality of every day life and he can see how hard it will be for his disciples to build God’s kingdom…how hard it will be to change how we think and act, and feel towards one another and towards God.

Just like the boy who Jesus heals, Life sometimes mauls our spirits and dashes our hopes and dreams into pieces on the ground..  Our negative emotions and disparaging thoughts and ideas can seize hold of us, poison us, drain our spirits, overwhelm us, cast us down, and break us.

Jesus knows life is hard.  Jesus knew the difficult road the disciples would follow after he was gone…and to bolster and sustain them, he taught them that when they gather together, to pray.  He taught them to withdraw alone from time to time, and pray.

He taught them when you are afraid of the path ahead, to kneel in God’s garden and pray.  Jesus showed them that transformation comes through the power of praying.

Prayer prepares us for what lies ahead of us.  Prayer grounds us, connects us, opens us, molds and shapes us…prayer prepares for us all that lies ahead of us each and every day.

People are complicated and challenging.  But Jesus comes back down the mountain because he love us.  Jesus comes back down the mountain because we are God’s beautiful and beloved children.  Jesus comes back down into the complicated mess that is humanity, because he knows how much we need him and how much we need what he has to offer us.  Jesus knows how much we need to see the light of the Spirit and experience the joy of God’s glory.

In the midst of Peter’s building plans, God covers them with a cloud, cocoons them, and says, “This is my Son, my Chosen; Listen to him!”  “Listen.”

Listen, because it is in the silence, not the fire, or the earthquake, or the whirlwind…that we discover God’s presence.  Praying has the power to transform us and to reveal the light of Spirit that flows from all of us.

God says, “This is my Son, my Chosen; Listen to him.”

Listen to Jesus.

The only way we can listen….

…is by being silent.

Let us pray…..

Sermon: An Opportune Time

cartoon angel and devil

Luke 4: 1 – 15:  Jesus is Tempted in the Wilderness

When I think about temptation, I think back to when I was watching cartoons as a kid.  There was one cartoon where Sylvester the Puddy tat, was eyeing Tweetie Bird in his cage, and suddenly a red devil Sylvester with horns appears on one shoulder and says, “do it.”

Immediately, an angel Sylvester, dressed in a long white robe, complete with harp and halo appears and says, “don’t do it.”  Sylvester is clearly torn until finally the devil Sylvester jumps across to the other shoulder and kicks the angel Sylvester out of the picture. Sylvester grins, Free at last, and attempts, as always, to gobble up poor Tweetie Bird.

As a child, I would often imagine those two figures, devil and angel, balancing on my shoulders whispering “do it”/”don’t do it” with great enthusiasm, when I found myself internally debating the wisdom of one of my Mom’s rules regarding sharing with my little brother; or the practicality of my teacher’s admonitions against peeking at my neighbor’s test when I didn’t know the answer; or even debating the reasonableness of the great commandment about loving everyone, because the boys that lived next door to us could be so annoying!

I would like to say the angel always won out…but that is far from true, apparently I was quite a handful.  But I can look back at those childhood times of wrestling with temptation, and see the beginning of my development of a conscience, and a heart, and a sense of justice, and a consideration for others, all within a child’s idea of what it means to try to tag along behind Jesus.

I wish I could say that as an adult it’s easier to wrestle with temptation but the dilemmas we face get more challenging and the choices are not as simple and clear cut as when we are children.

Wouldn’t it be great if temptation really did appear to us as a red devil with horns and cloven hooves, and a long pointy tail?  It would be so much easier to resist because the right choice would be so obvious and temptation would be so scary that we would run away screaming in fear and terror instead of giving in.

Unfortunately, temptation comes to us with a pleasant smile and an outstretched hand of friendship.  Temptation speaks to us with a soft spoken voice that makes solid and logical arguments, or a vibrant and commanding voice that seems to make complete sense.

Temptation comes to us covered with chocolate frosting, or wearing our favorite color, or offering us our heart’s desire for nothing more than the cost of shipping and handling, or our mere signature on a deal that’s too good to be true.  That is because our greatest tempter dwells within our own hearts and therefore, intimately knows our wants and our desires.

Today, when we join Jesus, he has already been in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, eating nothing at all, tempted by the devil.  His 40 days are over and he is famished, starving to the point of death.”

During this time of testing, Jesus is his most human, his most vulnerable… What is more fleshly than starving?  What is more human than being near death?  And his time of depletion and suffering is exactly when Satan, the tempter, the adversary, raises his most insidious and compelling arguments.

The adversary makes very reasonable and practical suggestions to Jesus, after all, why shouldn’t Jesus satisfy his hunger with a little bread – it’s only a stone after all – no harm, no foul; and wouldn’t it be GREAT if Jesus ruled the world instead of all the corrupt and oppressive rulers, like Rome for example; think of all the good Jesus could do if he took their place…what a better world it would be with Jesus in charge of everything…

…and how impressive would it be if Jesus flung himself from the temple roof and a thousand angels came to rescue him?  That would show the Sadducees and Pharisees who was boss!  That would be all the proof anyone would ever need!  That would end all debate and convert every non-believer in one grand, heavenly gesture, Wouldn’t it?  Huh?  Wouldn’t it??

Wouldn’t it be worth it Jesus…to just bend your knee…to me?

Seems like a fair trade-off, but Jesus reminds us with each of his replies that what is at stake, is his trust and faith in God.

-“One does not live by bread alone…but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

 -“Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”

 -“Do not put the Lord your God to the test…you must diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God…do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord…”

The greatest temptation going on here is that Jesus has the power to change the whole world for the better, but it would change Jesus…it would change who Jesus is…it would change Jesus relationship with God, and he won’t do that….not for anything.

Jesus prevails because he rejects power as defined in human terms illustrating most clearly that he is a Messiah unlike any other.  Jesus’ time of testing increases his reliance on God and makes it clear that his ministry is going to be about saving, not enslaving,

…that his power will only be used for others, never for himself…not even when he is starving to the point of death, or taken prisoner in Gethsemane, or hanging from a cross.

Temptation hits us at the most opportune time…when we are weak and vulnerable…when we are hungry or hurting.  When we are feeling frail and fearful….that is when we are most vulnerable to doubt…

…in the midst of our suffering when we most need God, we most often distrust God’s ability to help us, to lead us, to comfort us, to heal us…to save us.

No one ever said that following Jesus would be easy….and yet here we are…doing our best to resist the daily temptations in our lives that can separate us from God and God’s word…that can isolate us from one another, that can trip us up as we try to tag along after Jesus.

The disciples had no idea what they were getting into when they left their nets in their boats and followed after Jesus.  Neither do we when we gather together to try to discern God’s will.  That’s where the trust part comes in.  That’s where the faith part comes in.

That’s when we brush the little devil off our shoulder or at least put a finger in our ear…and try to listen for where the voice of God is calling us…we to try to reach out and grab hold of the hem of Jesus robe so that we can follow blindly, faithfully, where he is leading us.

Jesus resisted using his power to save the whole world.  He left the whole world in God’s hands and instead, he used his power to save people, one at a time, face to face, heart to heart, renewing their faith and trust in God with a smile, a touch, a look, a loaf of bread, and water jugs filled with wine at a wedding.

Jesus didn’t use his power to save the whole world, he used it to build God’s kingdom…he was God’s kingdom. Everywhere we go is God’s kingdom.  Like Jesus, we carry the power of God’s kingdom within us.

And so each week we gather and we pray as Jesus taught us to pray saying, …lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil..

Each of us has our own demons that we wrestle with…those things that cut us off from God, or interfere with us being our own best self, or isolate us from others.  And Our trials and temptations are many….There are all manner of things that lead us into wilderness places where we can wander lost, feeling abandon and alone, but,

“John Stendahl, a local pastor and blogger, says, “the desert is not God-forsaken nor does it belong to the devil.  It is God’s home.  The Holy Spirit is there, within us and beside us.  And if we cannot feel that spirit inside of us or at our side, perhaps we can at least imagine Jesus there, not too far away, with enough in him to sustain us, enough to make us brave.”

So next time you feel lost and alone in the wilderness being tempted with doubt and hopelessness, Imagine Jesus on both your shoulders, patting you on the back, pointing out the way to go.  Imagine Jesus at your side, his gentle voice cheering you on.  Imagine Jesus, opening you to the presence of the Spirit and strengthening your trust in God.

Imagine Jesus leading you through the wilderness and bringing you safely home to God.

Sermon: A Wedding, A Beginning

champagne toast

John 2: 1 – 11

When Bob and I got married, we made a weekend out of it because people were coming from all over the country to attend.  Family that hadn’t seen each other, some of them for years, were coming and we wanted time to visit and reminisce.  Our wedding and reception were on a Friday night.  We had an all day and late into the night open house on Saturday, and then a send-off brunch on Sunday.

Because, after all, a wedding is about a lot more than just the two people at the center of the celebrations.  A wedding is also about champagne toasts, open bar, tossing the bouquet, drinking, eating, and chicken dancing late into the evening.  A wedding is about reunions, family catching up, fawning over the kids and telling them how big, how beautiful, how grown up they have gotten.  A wedding is about remembering weddings past, remembering those who have passed on, telling stories, sharing memories…..and making more memories.

At the heart of all of the celebration there is the excitement of witnessing and participating in something new being created, a new beginning between two people joining their lives together, entering into covenant together, entering into a lifelong journey of sharing and partnership.

At the heart of a wedding celebration, there is a new beginning that speaks to us of hope for the future, passion, joy, continuation of traditions, a sharing of values, and an expansion of family.  I’m sure my Dad told Bob that he wasn’t losing a daughter, but that he was gaining a son.

Beginning his gospel with a wedding celebration seems a fitting way for John to illuminate Jesus’ ministry which is about bringing a new way of thinking about God and a new way of being together into the world.  What better place for beginning his ministry about God’s new creation, God’s new day, than at a wedding, a joyous celebration of new beginnings and a new life together.

Notice that John doesn’t include any details about the wedding…when we join the party, we are already three days into the celebrating.  In those days, a typical wedding feast might last for 7 days.  When our story begins, they are only 3 days in and the wine has run out.

Running out of wine would be a shameful event.  A family’s reputation and standing in the community would be at stake.  Humiliation, shame, and ridicule could be the consequence.  Guests were also expected to help provide provisions for a wedding so shame could fall on the guests as well.  The whole occasion is at risk of becoming an epic fail.  So, when Jesus mother comes to him and says, “They have no wine,” it’s a big deal.  There is an implied, “Do something” in her statement of the problem.

She might be reminding him of his obligation as a guest and as head of their household to contribute something to the party.  We don’t know what she things he will do, but she clearly has an expectation for Jesus to act.  If we imagine Jesus smiling when he responds to her and says, “What concern is that for you and me?  My hour has not yet come.”  We could hear that as, “No need for you to worry while I am still here with you.  Problem solved!”

Seeming satisfied, his mother tells the servants to do what Jesus tells them to do.  She leaves no other instructions, confident that having given her problem into Jesus’ hands, he will take care of everything…that he will provide the best possible solution…something better than what she can even imagine.

The Gospel of John is often called the Book of Signs.  This wedding miracle is the first of 7 signs in John’s Gospel.  Just before this, Jesus has been baptized and he has called his disciples.  And then they are all invited to this wedding in Cana where Jesus gives his first sign.

An important thing to know, is that for John, the miracles – the signs- that Jesus performs, are not, in and of themselves, as important as what the miracles are revealing about Jesus and what they are revealing about the kingdom of God.  When we are reading John, we need to be looking for what the signs are pointing to for us to see.

So what does this story reveal to us?

Jesus doesn’t fill wine containers which certainly would have been small jugs or jars.  Instead, he has the tall water jars filled to the BRIM, and he provides gallons, and gallons, and gallons of wine…certainly enough wine to provide for the rest of the celebration…and then some!

Just as with the loaves and fishes, Jesus provides enough, and more than enough…enough for all to have their fill and still have leftovers.  This extravagant sign reveals God’s abundance and generous nature.  In God’s kingdom, there is more than enough for everyone.

What else is this story pointing us to see?

Notice that it isn’t the actual transformation of the water into wine that is the surprise.  It is the quality of the wine and the timing of when it is served that surprises the Steward.  The steward says to the bridegroom, “Everyone serves the good wine first and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk.  But you have kept the good wine until now.”

This is the sign…the surprise, the unexpectedness, the twist.  This is a hallmark of Jesus ministry – he goes against convention, against the rules and customs that encourage a mentality of scarcity and hoarding.  He turns things topsy turvey.  He never does what is expected.

He is always God’s Word made flesh, bringing God’s Word to life, showing us what it means to participate in God’s kingdom here on earth.  Jesus always goes beyond our imagining for what is possible.  And he shows us that what is possible is the best of the best, and plenty and more than plenty to share among everyone.

Who is it that gets to see the sign?  Who sees and witnesses?

The servants.  The servants get to be in on the miracle.  They draw the water and fill the jars to the brim.  They get to draw the wine out and serve it.  They get to carry the surprise in to the waiting guests and see their faces when they taste its goodness.

They get to be filled with wonder and amazement.  One mark of Jesus ministry is that most often it is those who are not invited to participate in the feast, those who are invisible, those on the outside looking in…who are most often the ones who get to see Jesus in action and be witness to the miraculous.

And in the end, who is it who believes?

Our scripture says, “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”  A first and most important step in their shared journey and ministry together.  It is a question for us to carry awhile as we prepare for Lent.

What do we believe?

Who can we turn to when we are running on empty, when we have spiritually run dry?  What can we do when we feel inadequate…when the obstacles and challenges before us seem insurmountable?

That is when we are to turn to Jesus and say, “There is nothing left.”

That is when we are to give our lives to Jesus, confident that having given ourselves into Jesus hands, he will take care of everything…that he will provide the best possible solution…something better than what we can even imagine.

Our human resources are limited.  We run out of energy, out of strength, out of hope, out of determination, out of inspiration, and we run out of ideas.  But fueled by the spirit and held by Jesus, we too can accomplish miracles.  We too can do our part to proclaim and reveal God’s kingdom through our love and our action as Jesus disciples, as doers of God’s Word.  This story encourages us to celebrate with excitement as we are called to participate in something new being created here and now.

We are vessels waiting to be filled, filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with grace, filled with love, filled with peace…filled to the brim, filled until our cups runneth over….Jesus has shown us that we can depend on God’s grace; gallons, and gallons, and gallons of grace!  We can depend on God’s abundant love that never runs out.

We are the servants who get to be in on the miracle.  We get to carry the surprise and Good News of God’s abundant love to the waiting guests and see their faces when they taste its goodness.  We all get to be filled with wonder and amazement as witnesses and as disciples.

Let us together, give everything into Jesus hands, and trust that he will take care of everything…that he will provide the best possible solutions…that Jesus will lead us to something better and more glorious than we can even imagine!

Together,

Let us BELIEVE!