It’s the nightmare of every host and hostess. A request for more food or more to drink – but there isn’t any more! (that’s why we usually over-compensate by an over-abundance, just to be sure it doesn’t happen on our watch!) If it’s the fourth day of Jewish wedding celebrations, the ‘shavot brachat’ or seven blessings, with three more yet to go, this is a scandalously embarrassing development. This is what happened at Cana, at the wedding of Jesus’ friends. Jesus was made aware of the situation by Mary, his mother. His heart likely ached for his friends, but Mary’s suggestion that he ‘do’ something (hint, hint) still came as a shock. He had never exercised this ‘ability’ in public before and was very hesitant to do it here. He was keenly aware that his time had not yet come, yet it would relieve the bride’s parents of great social humiliation. The answer came to him in a flash. Because Mary had instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus said, he chose to be discreet, directing them to fill some water jars. That was not, in itself, too unusual. But imagine the servant nervously pouring water for the master of ceremonies to taste and discovering that it was now wine! And the best wine! Far better than the wine served up til now! An act of incredible love and compassion had been done in secret, with only servants in the know. Servants who were not of a station to speak it out! This was not unlike the night Jesus was born and the only ones the Father chose to put ‘in the know’ were shepherds who were, likewise, not of a station to speak it out! (we can only imagine how these two events were gossiped far and wide afterward to any who would listen.) I can picture the slight smile on Mary’s face at the announcement and her discreet, wordless, ‘thank you’ glance at Jesus.
Kingdom love. It is large and incredibly patient. It is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. It doesn’t brag about achievements nor inflate its own importance. It doesn’t traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. It isn’t easily irritated or quick to take offense. It joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. It is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. It never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. It never stops loving.* And guess what, y’all? This very thing is what Jesus invites us to! It’s his to give and he gives it away – to us! PD
*you may recognize these statements as coming from 1 Corinthians 13. If so, you’d be spot on.