Mid Week Reflection – The Wedding at Cana in Galilee
Weddings can be marvellous occasions and it’s not surprising that one of the popular reading for weddings is the account of the Wedding at Cana. A reading where St. John gives us another side of Mary’s character, she is a confident woman who knows her son is special and yet was still prepared to ignore him.
When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ (John 2:3-5)
I admit I have enjoyed conducting the marriage of many couples and some have stayed in my mind for all the right reasons. Let me share a couple of stories with you. There is the one where the combined ages of bride and groom was over 160 years. It was the bride’s third marriage. Her first two husband’s ashes had been interned in the church grave yard and she affectionately touched the memorial stone as she went to church each week. Her third husband had been a childhood sweetheart but their parents did not agree with their friendship. She did not out live her third husband.
There have been the marriages of young couples which were followed by baptisms of their children. Or there was the family I first met to plan a funeral, sadly followed by another funeral. I then conducted two or was it three baptisms. I then bumped into the father who said it was about time he and his partner got married. The day came and the bride was outside the church when we noticed her dress zip was broken. Thankfully, Sue came to the rescue, however, all Sue could do was sew the bride into her dress.
Wedding days can be joyful occasions but that joy can turn into pain and unhappiness. Loving relationships can become abusive and frightening places to be. Sometimes it is just that people grow apart, the love that binds is no longer there.
One of the saddest marriages I recall started as most do, a happy day. A week or so later I saw the groom walking around the church yard. I went out to him, he was in tears. We went into the vicarage and had a coffee. He told me that a week after the wedding they can gone to a club and his wife met a former boyfriend and their marriage ended that night.
Back to the wedding in Cana, weddings, in the time of Christ, could go on for several days. They were more than just family affairs, they were community gatherings. The disciple Nathaniel (John 1) came from Cana (John 21:2), Cana was a small village so in all probability Nathaniel was known by the wedding party. John records this as the location of the first sign (miracle) of Jesus. However, we choose to interpret this sign John gives us an image of joyful generosity, literally a joyful overflowing, something the guests would not forget in a hurry. It is a sign of the abundant generosity of God in our Lord Jesus.
Our Gospel reading is from John and his account of a wedding in Cana in Galilee. It was also the scene for the first ‘sign’, an insight into the reality of who Jesus was and is.
Our prayers and reading follow those set for the Second Sunday of Epiphany.
our beginning and our end: bring us with the whole creation
to your glory, hidden through past ages
and made known in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Collect for Epiphany 2)
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens •
and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; •
you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.
How precious is your loving mercy, O God! •
All mortal flesh shall take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house; •
they shall drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life •
and in your light shall we see light.
O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you •
and your righteousness to those who are true of heart.
Verses John 2 – The Wedding at Cana
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ . . . Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ . . . When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, . . . the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’
the source of all true love,
we pray for all those who are in loving relationships
that their love may grow stronger.
May they continue to know joy and gladness,
pleasure and delight, love, peace
and bring comfort and confidence to each other
in faithfulness and trust.
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
(Collect for Epiphany 2)
(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James)
St Thomas’s Church, Outwood, London, N14
Christine Matthews – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Collect and Post Communion Prayer – Liturgy © Common Worship, The Archbishops Council, 2000
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold)
In the Diocese of Manchester
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Images – Bridal bouquet – Djmuenchen s4l – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0