|Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 5, 2016||Proper 5, Year C||Luke 7: 11-17|
|Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||May 29, 2016||Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||Luke 7:1-10|
|Trinity Sunday, Pentecost 1, Year C||May 22, 2016||Trinity Sunday, Year C||John 16:12-15, Psalm 8|
|Day of Pentecost! Year C||May 15, 2016||The Day of Pentecost, Year C||Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27|
|Easter 5, Year C||April 24, 2016||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C||Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35, Psalm 148|
|Easter 4, Year C||April 17, 2016||Easter 4, Year C||Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30|
|Easter 3, Year C||April 10, 2016||Easter 3, Year C||John 21:1-19|
|Easter 2, Year C||April 3, 2016||Easter 2, Year C||John 20:19-31|
|Easter, Year C||March 27, 2016||Easter, Year C||Isaiah 65:17-25, Luke 24: 1-12|
|Good Friday||March 25, 2016||Good Friday, Year C||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday||March 24, 2016||Maundy Thursday, Year C||Psalm 116:1, 10-17, John 13:1-17, 31b-35|
|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 13, 2016||The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C||Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8, Psalm 126|
|Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 6, 2016||Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C||Joshua 5:9-12, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32, Psalm 32|
|Third Sunday in Lent, Year C||February 28, 2016||Third Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 13:1-9|
|Second Sunday in Lent, Year C||February 21, 2016||The Second Sunday in Lent, Year C||Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1|
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
Sermon Date:January 17, 2016
Scripture: John 2:1-11, I Corinthians 12:1-11, Psalm 36:5-10
Liturgy Calendar: Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
"The Wedding at Cana" – Giotto (1305-1306)
“On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee…”
Today’s gospel reading from John begins with these four words—“On the third day,” a phrase that carries us back into history, and also points us forward to the end of time itself.
In the earliest history of the people of God, the writer of Exodus tells us about a dramatic appearance of God to the people who God has brought out of Egypt and who are now wondering around in the wilderness near Mt Sinai.
The writer tells us that “on the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God at the foot of Mt Sinai.”
So the early Christians, on hearing this story from John’s gospel about the wedding at Cana, which happened “on the third day” would immediately be alerted to the fact that God might make an appearance in the story.
And they would also be alerted to the fact that the event described in this story would point to an event in the future of Jesus himself, his own resurrection.
“On the third day he rose again, in accordance with the scriptures.” We say this phrase every Sunday when we say the Nicene Creed.
And so this phrase, “on the third day,” points both backward and forward into time as a reminder that God is the Lord of history, and that God is in our own little bit of the story because we too are the people of God, wandering in the wilderness of our own times.
God is with us, God is leading us, and in the end, God will bring us into our own resurrections to take the places set for each one of us at the heavenly wedding banquet.
This day of our congregational meeting is a “third day” here at St Peter’s—a day to look back and to see how God was present with us 2015, as well as a day to look forward to what God has in store for us in 2016.
God was present with us in 2015 in so many ways—in our worship and fellowship, and certainly in the strength God gave us to carry out our Village Harvest ministry. God also gave growth to this ministry and helped us to strengthen connections with people out in our community.
You all have been so generous to the discretionary fund, and have brought hope to so many through my ability, thanks to you, to be able to help with electric bills and the other expenses that people don’t have the money to cover.
God was also present with us this year in giving us the will to identify the things that we need to do with these buildings in order to give greater glory to God in 2016.
We were able to get a $15,000 UTO grant for the renovation of our parish house kitchen. Although this grant won’t cover all of the expenses, it provides close to half of the cost of the work that will be done. The new kitchen will allow us to carry out current ministries, such as the Village Dinners, more efficiently, and also to dream up some new ministries for the community—maybe cooking classes for some of the people who come to the food distribution. The renovation of the kitchen will be done by GW Watts Construction here in Caroline County. The work will begin in early February.
After much hard work by many of you through the years—research about how to proceed in the restoration of the tablets was done in the early 2000’s—the current Vestry has decided to move forward with the first restoration of the altarpiece since its installation over 150 years ago. Obviously meant to be the focal point of this space, the altarpiece, over the years, has lost its beauty, and now we plan to bring it back to its original glory with the help of Cleo Mullins and Beth Fulton of the Richmond Conservation Studio and Rusty Bernabo, a gilding conservator who will be responsible for repairing and restoring the molding around the tablets. This work will begin soon after Easter.
With generous gifts, current pledges and a promised grant, we have raised about two thirds of the money needed to complete this project. We have about $20,000 to go to reach our goal of $64,000.
We have also continued to grow in Christian education for our children. Thanks to your ongoing generosity to the annual budget, Godly Play continues to be available to our young children. This fall we expanded and added a curriculum for children in the third grade and up called Weaving God’s Promises. We have also been able to have Vacation Bible School every year for the children, thanks to the willingness of many of you to help with that program each summer.
So God willing, 2016 will bring into reality some of the visions of 2015 as we sustain the ongoing work of mission and ministry that we are already doing.
And this Sunday, our own “third day”, we can expect miracles in our midst.
In the gospel story, the wine had run out at the wedding banquet. This would have been a disaster for the bridegroom and his family, because they had not prepared adequately for the party and the guests would have been disappointed and perhaps offended.
But what they did have in Cana was an abundant supply of water. Last week we talked about the fact that water is essential to all life on this planet. Water is something that we cannot live without.
So in the Cana story, Jesus has the servants fill six stone jars for the Jewish rite of purification with water. These jars are tall jars, about my height, and they hold lots of water. So the servants fill the jars and we know from the story that this water becomes wine, even better wine than the wine that the guests had already drunk.
We are like those large stone jars. God fills us with the gifts that God has seen fit to give to each one of us, and these gifts vary from person to person. You might say that the gifts within us are like the water in those stone jars.
Every Sunday, when we come to the altar, not only are we meeting Jesus in the bread and wine, but we are also offering ourselves to God. We are offering up to God the gifts that God has already given us in our stone jars.
We offer up ourselves to God each week believing with all our hearts that God will change our water into wine through filling us with the Holy Spirit, and will transform the simple and ordinary gifts we have been given into gifts that we can use for the common good.
Like Mary’s faith that Jesus would provide what was needed at the wedding, we can enter this year with the faith that we, too, have already been given all we need to do whatever it is that God is will call us to do, that when we offer up what we already have, God will infuse us with the energy and richness and the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we find ourselves drinking from God’s river of delights, and we become the life and light, the signs of God’s miraculous work here in our midst that we carry out from here into the world.
So may every day of our lives be spent in Cana, on “the third day,” the day of miracles.
Wait in faith.
Expect God to show up.
Expect some resurrection in the dead places of your lives.
And know that the miracle of God’s power will enter in and will work in us, and will do infinitely more in us than we could ever ask or imagine, on this “third day” and every day to come.