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Martin Luther King, Jr. Observation:


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Sermon Excerpt: Risky Symbols and Small Miracles, John 2:1-11; Isaiah 62:1-5, Rev. Karen A. Goltz

Today’s gospel lesson is commonly recognized as the first of Jesus’ public miracles.  It was by this miracle that people sat up and took notice, and it was with this miracle that Jesus really began his ministry.  Personally, my initial reaction to this is, what a waste of a miracle.

            I mean, really!  So the guests drank all the available wine at a wedding.  Big deal.  Would it have killed them to switch to water?  If they were going through the wine so quickly maybe they should have switched to a non-alcoholic beverage!  Was it so important that the guests be able to keep imbibing?  If Jesus is going to perform his first public miracle, shouldn’t it be to provide food for starving people, or healing for someone terminally ill?  Why waste such a momentous event on something so mundane and unimportant?

   I realize my personal bias is showing.  But for me, wine is something that will cause no good and all bad if I bring it back into my life.  So I have trouble using it as a symbol of grace, which is how this story is often interpreted, because that symbol so completely excludes me and others like me.  What good is grace if I can’t partake of it?

            But that’s the thing about symbols.  They’re risky.  Any symbol you want to use, you can find someone for whom that symbol is offensive, and the message is lost.  This text also has a wedding, which is often understood as a symbol of celebration, commitment, devotion, and love.  Tell that to anyone who’s been through a messy divorce, and see how much joy they get out of the wedding imagery.  The kingdom of heaven is like a wedding banquet?  I remember doing the seating chart at my wedding banquet, and I remember having to make sure that this person was seated nowhere near this person, or else world war three would break out.  And I had to do that with multiple people, and I only had a few tables to work with.  I hope the kingdom of heaven’s not going to be like that! . . . Subscribers: click here to access all listed resources and more