If you had to sum up the Christian faith with a single occasion, what would you decide on? Perhaps a Sunday communion service or a baptism? Perhaps a Winter evening shelter scheme? Or a session at the Foodbank?
All these concepts sound very good. But what about a wedding?
Weddings can be modest and intimate they can be large and lavish. But they are virtually generally centred about ‘what the bride and groom want for their unique day’ and so they can at times really feel a bit a self-focused.
So why does the evangelist John decide on a wedding to paint the opening image in his gospel of who Jesus is?
The wedding at Cana, at which Jesus turns water into wine, is a effectively identified story. But what does it actually imply?
We all know that John’s gospel is loaded with symbolism. So why this story? And why a wedding?
Effectively, the answer in truth is ‘Who knows?’
But right here are seven thoughts that might enable in our understanding. And set the scene for a clearer, richer and surprising image of who Jesus, who God, genuinely is.
1. The supply of life is enjoy
The vital ingredient of a wedding is enjoy – the enjoy of the satisfied couple, the enjoy of household and pals wishing them effectively and the enjoy of God who blesses a new household in the generating.
The Bible tells us that ‘God is love’ and so it is enjoy that underpins each creation and our incredibly existence.
A wedding reminds of this. And also of our deepest wish – a wish deeper than our need to have to appear robust and highly effective – which is the wish to enjoy and be loved.
two. We are all invited
A wedding is a celebration and it would not be substantially of a celebration if it only comprised the bride, the groom, the minister and a couple of witnesses. Weddings need to have guests. And the Bible tells several stories about weddings and celebrations exactly where people today are invited and some come and some refuse.
The truth is that we are all invited to God’s wedding celebration – his union with the globe by means of Christ – exactly where Christ is the bridegroom and we are the bride.
No a single is left out. No expense is spared.
Obtaining lately arranged a wedding for my son and daughter-in-law, I know how challenging it is to draw up the guest list and how painful and upsetting it can be to ‘draw a line’ in order to preserve down the charges.
But at the heavenly banquet there is no drawing the line. All are invited. All of us are guests of honour and valuable in God’s sight.
three. Weddings are about getting not performing
At weddings we switch off our phones, we set aside our operate and issues to do lists, and we are completely present for the occasion. We come collectively at a wedding not to do or generate something but basically to be collectively, to celebrate our friendship.
Carrying out significantly less, getting much more and getting much more collectively are basic to the message of the Christian faith.
four. The Gospel IS enjoy
The ministry of Jesus is complete of incredible wisdom and teaching. But the vital goal of his presence amongst us is to reveal, strengthen and deepen enjoy – enjoy for God and enjoy for a single one more.
John highlights this by selecting the wedding at Cana as the 1st public sign of Christ’s ministry.
five. The Gospel is not the drudgery of duty but the passion of enjoy
In John’s gospel, Jesus turns water into wine, darkness into light, the Law into the sacrifice of his personal physique for us. John sees our faith in Christ not as the drudgery of duty but the passion of enjoy.
six. God’s enjoy for us is deep and wealthy beyond all measure
The wine Jesus produces from the water is abundant and of the highest high quality. John desires us to see the wine as representing the enjoy of God for us – a enjoy that is unquenchable and of unsurpassable high quality. God will by no means run out of enjoy and the enjoy he has for us is much more great than any other enjoy imaginable.
The story speaks of Christ’s outrageous generosity in loving so substantially that he is even prepared to give his life for us.
7. The heart of our faith is partnership
At the heart of the Christian faith is not a book or a set of Laws but a individual, the individual of Christ. And what our faith delivers is a partnership with that individual.
Come and enjoy me, says Jesus. And let me enjoy you.
Just what a bride and groom say to every single other on their wedding day.
When we come to Christ, we say, ‘I take you, Jesus, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for improved, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in overall health, to enjoy and to cherish’ – but not, as in an earthly marriage, ‘until death do us part’ but forever. And Christ tends to make the exact same guarantee to us. He says, ‘I, Jesus, take you, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for improved, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in overall health, to enjoy and to cherish… forever.’
So, actually, it is no wonder that John chooses a wedding to sum up all that he actually understands about Jesus and our faith and trust in him.
To be a Christian is to be in partnership with Jesus. And to be at the heart of the wedding – a celebration and communion that reflects the joy and commitment of God’s enjoy for us all.