Devotional Service for January 16, 2022 John 2:1-11 The Wine Has Run Out

*Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, who creates us, redeems us, and calls us by name.  Amen.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another. Most Merciful God,  C. we confess that we have sinned against you and your beloved children. We have turned our faces away from your glory when it did not appear as we expected. We have rejected your word when it made us confront ourselves. We have failed to show hospitality to those you called us to welcome. Accept our repentance for the things we have done and the things we have left undone. For the sake of Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us and lead us, that we may bathe in the glory of your Son born among us, and reflect your love for all creation. Amen.

Rejoice in this good news: In Christ Jesus, our sins are forgiven. We are descendants of  the Most High, adopted into the household of Christ, and inheritors of eternal life. Live as freed and forgiven children of God.   C. Amen.

*Apostolic Greeting:  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.   C. And also with you.

*Prayer of the Day: Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him,   Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

*Gospel Acclamation: C. Alleluia! Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Alleluia. Alleluia..

*Holy Gospel: John 2:1-11:  Open your Bibles and read out loud; then keep your Bibles open as you read Pastor’s devotion.

*Gospel Responses  The gospel of the Lord. C. Praise to you, O Christ.

Homily:      “The Wine Has Run Out”

This is a very interesting encounter between Jesus and his mother.  They and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana.  A marriage was a community event.  The couple’s reception could last for days.  The worst thing that could happen would be for the wine to run out before the party was over.  Jesus’ mother got word that the wine had run out and she just knew her son could help.  So, she turned to our son, “They have no wine.”  Jesus responds, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me?  My hour has not yet come.”

Sounds like a real rebuff.  But Mary does not take it that way.  She tells the servants; “Do whatever he tells you.”

Before moving on let me share with you what is happening.  The Gospel of John’s point of view was Jesus came to take away the sins of the world by suffering and dying on a Cross.  John saw Jesus as being crowned king on the Cross.

Throughout most of the Gospel we hear his hour has not yet come.  But after his triumphant ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday some Greeks came to Philip and said, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”  When Philip told this to Jesus, he responded, “My hour has come.”  This was the sign he was looking for.  He knew the word about his ministry had gotten out to the Greco-Roman world.  (John 12:20-26)   He could go to the Cross for all humanity.

Now back to Cana.  Jesus also was a very compassionate person.  He ordered the servants to fill six jugs that were there for Jewish purification rites with water.  Each jug held 20 – 30 gallons.  He ordered them to take a taste to the wine steward and he is awestruck.  People served the best wine until everybody was half drunk and then they served the inferior stuff.  But in this case, they saved the best wine to last.

That’s the way it is with the Gospel of God’s grace and glory.  It is based on everything that happened before, but God saved the best until last by sending Jesus.  But the hour of his saving the world had not yet come, so his hour has yet to come.

Martin Luther had a real interesting slant on this story.  He said every married couple were filled with the wine of love, forgiveness, and companionship.  But the day-to-day grind can wear folks down and the wine runs out.  That is when Jesus comes and helps the couple renew their life together.  No marriage can make it until Christ is in the heart of the relationship.

I believe the same is true of a church.   When you first join everything seems wonderful, indeed the early part of a pastor’s ministry is often called the honeymoon.  But the grind of daily doing ministry, and offerings start to get weak, and the wine of the relationship can run out.  But Jesus is there offering new wine.  I see this in every worship when we confess our sins and hear assurance we are being forgiven.  Then it happens at the communion table when we receive life, forgiveness and salvation.

Jesus is always there offering new wine when the old wine runs out.  Drink deeply of the new wine to be restored, even when we cannot gather because the weather is dangerous, or we have been exposed to Covid19 or any of its variants. God bless you and I look forward to being together for Bible Study on Wednesday, and next Sunday when Larry and Chris Stenzel unite with our congregation next week. And now may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Amen.

*Prayers of the Church: The Spirit of the Lord is poured out upon us in abundance; so we are bold to pray for the church, the world, and all that God has made.

By your Spirit, activate within your church gifts of faith, healing, and prophecy. Unite those who profess your name across congregations, denominations, and geographic boundaries. Open our hearts to recognize and celebrate surprising miracles. God of grace, hear our prayer.

Your creation reflects your generosity. Bless farmers, migrant farmworkers, orchard-keepers, ranchers, and all who tend the abundance of the land. Protect food and water sources from destruction, that all can eat and drink and be satisfied. God of grace, hear our prayer.

By your Spirit, grant wisdom, knowledge, and discernment to those who hold leadership positions at any level. Direct policymakers toward compassionate decisions that build up safe and just communities. Lead all authorities in seeking and serving the common good. God of grace, hear our prayer.

As Jesus provided generously in a moment of need, provide generous gifts of healing for those in need this day. Provide abundantly for all who are hungry or thirsty, all seeking shelter, and all who seek peace. God of grace, hear our prayer.

You see us for who we are and you delight in us. Embrace those struggling with self-worth, wrestling with self-identity, or facing significant life transition. Remind us that nothing can separate us from your love. God of grace, hear our prayer.

We thank you for Martin Luther King, Jr., a great prophet. Lord God, we pray for those who have to be out in this terrible weather. Protect them from harm and danger and keep us from going out until the roads are clear.

You bless us through the spiritual gifts of the saints who have gone before us. We give thanks for the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and all who have modeled the way of courageous faith. God of grace, hear our prayer.

Since we have such great hope in your promises, O God, we lift these and all our prayers to you in confidence and faith; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

 *The Lord’s Prayer:  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

*Benediction: God, who leads us in pathways of righteousness, who rejoices over us, and who calls us by name, bless our going out and our coming in, today and forever. C. Amen.

*Dismissal  Go with Christ into a weary world. Share the good news. C. Thanks be to God.