The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany. Changing Water into Wine. John 2:1-11

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The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #39     Praise to the Lord                  3.1
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 370            My Hope Is Built            3.11

Demonstration of the Word's Power

The Hymn #128            Brightest and Best              3:29
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #309   O Jesus, Blessed Lord            3.70

KJV Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on ourministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Letlove be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thy grace Thou hast instituted holy matrimony, in which Thou keepest us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech Thee to send Thy blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Thy gracious help in all temptations, and rear their children in accordance with Thy will; grant unto us all to walk before Thee, in purity and holiness, to put all our trust in Thee, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Demonstration of the Word's Power
KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 

There are two main themes in this Gospel. One is the power and extent of God's Word, and the other is God's blessing of Christian marriage.

We are now in the third phase of pagan attitudes toward marriage. 

Marriage paganism - first phase. Around the time of Christ, there was a pagan attitude toward women as the source of all evil in the world, so marriage was bad too. This came to influence the Church with monks and nuns, but that took some time. The apostles were married but in time (St. Augustine) priests were no longer married.

Second phase of paganism - In Luther's time, he observed that the Christian Church of his day despised marriage and had priests who would not sully themselves by attending a marriage. The single life was more holy, and that was the only way to have a church vocation. This was not entirely honest, since many priests were secretly married and even paid a marriage tax to the pope. But as we see with today, reality is not as important as the impression, the posturing. Marriage was bad and women were evil.

Today is the third phase of paganism. People get married, but it is considered a curse and something to be avoided by men and women. Marriage was re-defined some time ago, when corporations began recognizing "partners" as married and giving them benefits. Now the Supreme Court will make it official nation-wide, in spite of Congress' Protection of Marriage Act years ago and all the state-wide votes.

So marriage now, when it happens, is turned into a joke where extravagance is the key and the union really means almost nothing.

But in this lesson, marriage is blessed by God, because Jesus attended with His disciples and His mother. No mention is made of Joseph, so it is assumed that Joseph had died by that time. 
And we can tell this was a simple marriage between two people with few relatives. That is why Mary is in charge and taking responsibility for the details. We have to assume that the couple had no living relatives and that their financial resources were limited.

They ran out of wine, and that was like inviting people to dinner with no food, no plates, no silverware. In other words, it was unthinkable and embarrassing to the couple. 



3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

Mary's supervisory role is revealed in her statement to Jesus. She takes on the responsibility of relaying the problem to her Son and then gives orders to the servants. This is similar to a prayer. She expressed the need to Jesus.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

Jesus' response comes across so cool, even harsh, that some translators make this address to be "dear woman," but that is not what the text says. In John's Gospel, Jesus addressed his mother twice as "woman" because He was and is her Lord. Likewise, in the Temple, He did not apologize to His mother and Joseph, but told them about the necessity of being there.

Mary's response is one of complete trust. She knew what He could do and did not show any hesitancy in facilitating the solution. So this is a lesson for all believers in similar circumstances. When God's response to prayer seems chilly, we should persist in being trusting. God can accomplish anything in a moment and never wavers in His concern for us.

I keep wondering why people accept the synod as their god, having all power over their lives. Instead of trusting the Word of God, they trust the word of man will get them the answers they need, if they complain on Facebook or on blogs.

Jesus responded by performing His first miracle.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

Jesus turned water into the best wine by His Word alone. He did not touch the water, the pots, or the wine. This demonstration is extremely important for us, because too many people put the emphasis on proximity. The Roman officer knew better and provided a good lesson. He could give orders and know they would be obeyed. Likewise, he knew that Jesus could command the elements the same way and heal his servant. Jesus did not need to travel and speak the Word over the servant, or touch him. The Word of God has infinite reach.

I was disappointed that clergy thought a Holy Communion service had to be limited to a room, a church, building. The Word of God is effective when spoken, heard, remembered, or read. The Word consecrates the elements. If that were not so, then the sermon would not be a sermon when broadcast or shared by videotape. 

People have begun to concede that the church of the future will have to be like ours, because it is the one way to reach most people, in spite of distance, weather, etc.

This shows how God's Word, beyond anyone's imagination can turn one element into another. Thus God can pronounce a believe righteous through faith in Him. That is greater transformation than water into wine.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 

This water turned into wine was so good that the master of ceremonies chided the groom for holding back the best wine, which should have been distributed first. So we not only have a demonstration of the power of the Word, but also the implied application of that power.

Marriage is like ordinary water in the eyes of the world. It is often seen as necessity, such as when people unite two wealthy families in a legal bond. Or two warring Mafia factions. Brides have been used as property to earn wealth for a family with a title and no money, or to earn a title for a family with wealth and no titles.

People despise marriage because it brings obligations, work, difficulties, while limiting freedom. So the unbelieving world sees only water, not wine. If anyone suggests wine, they point out only the dregs.

Faith in Christ transforms marriage, so that even the difficulties are remembered with advantages, as Shakespeare said of St. Krispin's Day. Mothers feel dragged down by the demands of infants but remember all the special moments. Fathers recall the messes and the noise, but when will anyone else listen with such interest and learn so much? It even gets repeated back with thanks many years later.

People want to "make a difference" but there is no greater difference made than being good parents. No other school has such diligent students. To add young adults to society with so much spiritual wisdom is a great accomplishment. Like parental advice, this bears fruit over time.


Luther:
33. Then comes the consoling Gospel and turns the water into wine. For when the heart hears that Christ fulfills the law for us and takes our sin upon himself, it no longer cares that impossible things are demanded by the Law, that we must despair of rendering them, and must give up our good works. Yea, it is an excellent thing, and delectable, that the Law is so deep and high, so holy and righteous and good, and demands things so great; and it is loved and lauded for making so many and such great demands.

This is because the heart now has in Christ all that the Law demands, and it would be sorry indeed if it demanded less. Behold, thus the Law is delightful now and easy which before was disagreeable, difficult and impossible; for it lives in the heart by the Spirit. Water no longer is in the pots, it has turned to wine, it is passed to the guest, it is consumed, and has made the heart glad.