What a good job we invited him

A little reflection on the wedding at Cana (John 2.1-11)

“What a good job they invited Jesus.”

So the servants would have said to each other as they watched the guests enjoying the wine they’d worked so hard to carry in those enormous stone jars. Well, it had been water when they’d carried it, but water was just as heavy as wine, wasn’t it?  And no doubt everyone would have passed the blame around if the situation with the wine shortage had continued and been noticed by the bride and groom – and it was always the servants who didn’t have anyone to whom they could transfer the blame…

“What a good job they invited Jesus.”

So thought the chief steward.  Not only is the wine problem solved, but this man, this carpenter, had somehow managed to come up with really rather good wine.  Wine worthy of the bride and groom and their guests.

“What a good job they invited Jesus.”

So said the guests, when they found out via the whispered rumours late in the day where all the wonderful drinks had come from.  And there’s so much of it!  How wonderful not just to provide a bare minimum, but to offer us almost more than we can drink!  The fruit of the vine is indeed a blessing, the sign of the abundance with which God will bless the happy couple.

“What a good job they invited Jesus.”

So said the bride and groom to one another, years later.  Not only did he save our wedding reception from embarrassing disaster, but he also showed us something else – whenever we’ve felt our relationship has been running dry, when we’ve felt empty, or lacking in joy, we remember that he was there the day we married, blessing us then, and he still blesses us now.

“What a good job they invited Jesus.”

So said Mary to herself.  After years of wondering when the moment would come when her son started to fulfil the potential promised by the strange events of his birth and early childhood. In that moment when she noticed that the wine had given out, Mary knew that this was her chance to gently nudge Jesus towards his destiny – even though that also meant drawing closer to that time when the sword would pierce her own soul, too.   This was the moment when all the things Mary had been pondering in her heart started to become public.

“What a good job they invited me.”

So said Jesus to himself.
Because they invited him, he was able to bring them blessing.
Because they invited him, he was able to bring them joy.
Because they invited him, he was able to show them something of God’s abundant grace.
Because they invited him, he was able to learn more about his own identity and purpose, grasp his mission in the world with both hands, and do what he came to earth to do.
Because they invited him, he was able to show to the world a little foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

“What a good job they invited Jesus.”

But what about us?

When do we, and when don’t we, invite Jesus, invite God, into our own lives, even into our ordinary things, our joys and sorrows, our daily ups and downs.  The gospels tell us of a man who was absolutley concerned with the ordinary everyday things of life.  He went to weddings, and almost certainly baptisms. We know he went to at least one funeral – that of Lazarus. He was invited to dinner parties, to acts of worship, to fishing trips, to confrontations, and to gatherings of every kind.  That’s at least partly what the incarnation was about – simply being there, being part of human life.

Jesus was God coming into ordinary life, ordinary, earthly stuff, and blessing it, transforming it, improving it, making it more joyful, more fulfilling…

How much do we miss out on if we don’t invite God into our ordinary messes.  How much blessing, how much transformation, how much ‘better’ do we miss out on?

I say to every wedding couple I meet, that they are genuinely inviting God not just to their wedding, but into their marriage, into their lives, into their home.  It’s often our desire for independence, for self-sufficiency, that leads us to avoid seeking help, or asking for blessing, or truly desiring transformation. May we learn to recognise our own need, our own times of having run dry, but more than that, may we invited God to be part of every aspect of our lives, simply because we want him to share our lives – that way, when we need him most, we know that he will already be there.

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