Today is the Third Sunday of Epiphany, the season of the Church’s year during which Jesus’ identity is being revealed to the people around him. On the Feast of the Epiphany Jesus was revealed to the magi who travelled from the East. On the First Sunday of Epiphany Jesus was revealed through his baptism.
On the Second Sunday of Epiphany Jesus was revealed to Philip and to Nathanael. Today Jesus is revealed to the guests at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. When the wine runs out, Jesus replenishes the supply. In verse 11 John explains why he starts with this story: it ‘is the first of the signs by which Jesus revealed his glory and led his disciples to believe in him.’ It is no accident that the first sign takes place at a wedding feast. In Jewish thought the wedding feast is a way of speaking about God’s Kingdom, when the Messiah will preside at the banquet.
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited you to focus on the image of making wine. In so doing we made the link between the transformed wine at the wedding feast in Cana and the transforming wine in which we share at the Eucharistic feast. In today’s picture from Exploring the parish church, Bethan and Tomos are busy making wine for the communion service in their church, experiencing for themselves the fruit of the vine and the work of human hands.
Lord Jesus Christ,
your gift of new wine brought joy
to the wedding feast.
Make us ready to take our place at the feast,
so we may share the joy of your kingdom;
for you are our God.
Next Sunday, Liverpool Cathedral is celebrating the Feast of Candlemas, or the Presentation of the infant Christ in the Temple. It was there in the Temple that the elderly Simeon spoke of Jesus as a light bringing God’s salvation to the Gentiles as well as to the Jewish people. The image to help us prepare for that reading is lights.
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