|Pen and Ink Reflections||
Our little confirmation group had a spirited conversation last week, looking at Scripture and how it came to be formed and how we might now interpret it. We were helped along by the early realisation that most of us have what was described as a ‘pick and MISS’ relationship with scripture. Now if that idea offends you, you might want to shut your ears for a few minutes. What we meant was that not all of scripture nourishes us – and certainly not all of scripture nourishes us all, all of the time. In fact, some of it could be seen as down-right dangerous and bad for our mental health. This brings us to today’s parable – which quite frankly I might have been inclined to put in the ‘miss’ bucket. It is attributed only to Matthew, which might give us pause to begin with, and its sentiments seem to run counter to much of what Jesus says in other places. But here it is in the lectionary, so what are we going to do with it?...
I want to talk about wine, woman and wedding; and about what Jesus's first sign can teach us about our Mission Action Plan and our giftedness in this parish. First of all however, just notice how our gospel reading begins. It starts with the words "on the third day" - and that's very odd, because in the previous chapter we have had a day when the Pharisees question John the Baptist, then a day when John sees Jesus, then a day when he declares Jesus the lamb of God, and then a day when Jesus calls Philip and Nathaniel, so that by the count of the narrative we are now up to at least the fifth day not the third. Which should alert us that the counting that is happening here is not literal but symbolic. So if symbolic, what as Christians do we all know happens on the third day? ...that's right, Jesus is raised from the dead. So this tells us that the story that follows is a highly symbolic story, all about Jesus's resurrection and what it achieves. This is going to be a story about transformation, that is for the whole church. And if we are in any doubt about that we need only look to the last sentence of the story, ' Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him'. There are to be six more 'signs' in the gospel of John, each of them revealing more of the glory of Jesus, culminating in the raising of Lazarus, before John turns to the final story, the story of the death and resurrection. So this story, which appears at first glance to be about a good time at a wedding, is in fact all about Jesus and the transformative power of his death and resurrection...
by Penny Jones (for Pentecost 22 year A)
Apparently there are something like 46 days till Christmas. Now you know that’s a really, really long time! In fact, it is 66,240 minutes! – and an unimaginable number of seconds. And the really good thing is that it takes approximately three seconds to reconnect with God and remember what it is all supposed to be about – about the time it takes to breathe in and breathe out once. Which must mean we have over 200,000 chances of connecting with God and remembering how much God loves us before Christmas alone – never mind in the rest of our lives. So I believe that God’s invitation to you over the next 46 days, is to take some of those 200,000 opportunities to connect with God, and to bask in the warmth of God’s love, which is as intense and as full as the love of bridegroom for bride as today’s story suggests...