I think the people of St. Paul’s would have loved to have been the guests at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. We love food, we love a good time, we love to be together, and we love to have things to celebrate. The wedding feast would have been all of those things and more – a festive setting, special clothes, and the best the host had to offer.
Which is why it was so nearly a disaster.
The greatest dread of any host is to run out of what is needed; food or drink, space or seats, or whatever is being expected and offered for the well-being of the guest. In this case, to run out of wine at a wedding was particularly humiliating. It was the bridegroom’s duty and pride to make sure that everyone would have a good time and tell the story of what a special occasion it had been. Instead, he found himself with empty wine jars and on the verge of having to reveal that he had not provided sufficiently for the banquet.
We can all think of times when we have been “called out” on some deficiency, mistake, or inadequacy. There is that moment of cold shame before the truth is revealed, the moment when we know ourselves as having fallen short, for good reason or bad. Just imagine (or remember) being on the verge of such a moment and being reprieved; of discovering that the worst was not about to be revealed after all. The relief! The fresh start!
Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine is many things, but not least, it was the saving grace of that day for the bridegroom. His provision had been inadequate and he expected to be shamed. Instead, the best wine was saved until the last through the generous love of the One who had come to love the world. So let us join the feast, eat, drink, rejoice, and know we are loved just as we are.
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves