Part of my morning routine (when I’m disciplined enough to do it!) is to read through the Daily Office scriptures for the day. It’s a schedule of Bible readings laid out in the Book of Common Prayer, for each day of the year. Instead of reading a devotional or listening to a sermon, the idea of the Daily Office is to let these scriptures speak for themselves, little by little, over time. Some days I find the scriptures strange and confusing, at other times something jumps off the page.
This morning, I accidentally read the passages for December 29th, and I’m glad I did because the gospel reading is one that jumped out and caught my attention. It’s the story of Jesus changing the water into wine, found in John 2:1-11. This story is one I’ve read and/or heard a hundred times, and at first glance it didn’t seem so special. Jesus isn’t feeding the multitudes or healing someone, he’s helping make a seemingly raucous party (they drank all the wine, after all) last a little longer. It’s a strange place for “the first of his miraculous signs.” And yet, John makes sure to say that in performing this miracle, he “revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” An odd emphasis on an act that seems so non-glorious.
If someone showed up today and told me, “Go fill this jar with water,” would I expect a miracle? Probably not. I’d probably just go about my business, and possibly miss something extraordinary. And maybe that’s why this story is important. Jesus is with us, present in our everyday lives, just as he was at that wedding in Cana. So how many times does Jesus press in to our everyday lives and ask us to fill a jar with water; and how many times do we miss it because we’re not expecting it?
What if today we used some “Biblical imagination” and placed ourselves inside this story as the wedding servants? What if we walked around in our everyday life, waiting for Jesus to speak and change our course, even if it’s just as simple as filling up a jar with water?
At our first Parish gathering last Saturday, we talked about this idea. My hope is that as a congregation, we would be defined not by our plans and strategies, but by our willingness to wait and expect Jesus to show up. Not just in our times of corporate worship and prayer, but in our everyday, ordinary lives. And when He does show up, that we would listen and follow.
So today, remember this story and keep your ears open. Every time you take a drink of water, let it remind you that Jesus is still with you, speaking and guiding. Sometimes, all you have to do is start listening.
The Collect (prayer) for the week: Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.