Sunday, June 25, 2017

When the Miracle-Wine Runs Dry

It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I’m at the beach. That is to say, I’m at a café at the beach. I thought no one would be here, but apparently I am not the only one who enjoys looking at the ocean when it’s raining.

Today was one of the days when neither Keith nor I had to preach (which meant we were assigned for piano and vocal leader duty). The retired pastor of a nearby church has agreed to preach once a month, and today was the second installment in his series in the Gospel of John. The passage was John 2:1-12, the wedding at Cana.

One Sunday three years ago, Keith and I sat together with Pastor Takahashi at the head of a big long table around which were seated about 25 church members--more than half of the church. That day we read John 2 together, introduced the inductive method of Bible study, and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company as we worked through the passage. I had watched with delight as the Bible came alive, as each person was able to find how the passage connected with their own life.

So, I listened to the passage being read this morning with complicated emotions. Pastor Takahashi isn’t here any more. The idea of everyone sitting together around one table, laughing and enjoying one another’s company seems like a distant dream. It seems like we’ve run out of wine--but perhaps we had forgotten where the wine was coming from.

I’m eating a slice of a spectacular gateaux chocolate cake right now, accompanied by Darjeeling tea. All around the café, wild roses are blooming, and the ocean is calm. These things are like the miracle-wine in the story, which was so delicious that the master of the feast pulled aside the bridegroom to compliment him for saving the best for last. And yet, neither the master of the feast nor the bridegroom knew where the wine came from. Only a few knew--Mary, the disciples, and the servants.

I have been given a great blessing; I know where the wine came from. I must not forget who made the miracle-wine from which I drink every day, or become distracted by its exquisite taste. And when the miracle-wine seems to run dry, I must not forget that the giver is infinitely greater and more beautiful than anything he gives.

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