Sermon Text: John 2:1-11
In the Name of Jesus. AMEN!
Alta, Derek, brothers and sisters in Christ, beloved in the Lord,
In many ways social media can be a great. I mean, how many of you out there can remember getting a notification that “Alta Gray is now friends with Derek Brakefield?” And how many of you remember getting a notice that Derek Brakefield was now friends Alta Gray? Probably not very many. A few of you may have noticed a message from Facebook letting everyone know that Derek was now in a “relationship” or that Alta was now in a “relationship.” Who needs e-harmony or match.com or farmers only.com when there’s FACEBOOK. Alta and Derek were facebook friends before they were even really friends. Facebook friends turned into a relationship and now – well now they’ll both have to change their “relationship status” some time tonight or tomorrow.
Facebook may be one of the reason Alta and Derek are together but its not the primary reason we’re here. We’re here because Alta and Derek seek blessings from the Lord, blessing that come through rite and ritual as His Word is given to them, on them, in them.
And hearing the Word of the Lord we find that it’s been three days . . . and Jesus and His disciples have been invited to a wedding. Our Lord delights to be with His people, to share in their joys, their hopes, their dreams, their celebrations. It’s been three days and our Lord does His best work after three days. He makes all things new in His own newness. He fills all things with life, with His own life. He gives good gifts to men, women, and children, gifts that endure, gifts that steady frail hearts, strengthen weak knees, give rest to weary souls. And He gives gifts that sustain marriages and further the bond of love between husband and wife. These gifts He offers Derek and Alta this evening.
The disciples of Jesus go where Jesus goes. They go with Him to the wedding. Wherever Jesus is He is there to give out those gifts to all who believe. That’s why you’re here this evening. You’re not here because you love each other – you loved each other yesterday, last week, last month, maybe even last year. You’re not here because there’s a party afterwards. Anyone can throw a party. You’re not here to do something for God – as though He needs to hear you make promises to each other and then see your love and devotion for one another in order for your marriage to be a real marriage in His sight. You’re not even here to make this thing legal. You’re not here for any of those reasons – all of those things can be accomplished at other times and in other places. Disciples of Jesus go where Jesus goes because Jesus has gifts to give to those who believe. Alta and Derek, you’re here to receive His gifts. His gifts are good gifts, gifts without which your marriage would be sorely lacking.
Thus, your being here today receiving His good gifts is the best way to start your marriage. And being where Jesus is giving out His good gifts every Lord’s Day is the best way to continue your marriage. So that whatever you do, whenever you do it, you begin and end with the gifts of Jesus.
Now, Jesus and His disciples are in Cana of Galilee and there’s a problem. “They have no wine.” Those are the words St. Mary brings to Jesus. “They have no wine.” And truth be told, neither do you – not in yourselves, your families, friends or neighbors. You, like the rest of the world have no wine. What do they have? They have water in 6 stone jars. And it’s not drinking water – its cleansing water – which means its dirty water. That’s what fallen humanity brings to marriage – dirty water. It’s dirty water because we are mired in sin. These six stone jars are full of the water of our brokenness and that water that is full of filth.
Sadly, the world drinks it up. The world loves it. And the world is sick because of it. This water is poison to the soul. God gives good gifts to His creation and His creation takes them, abuses them, perverts them, distorts them and makes every attempt to get God’s blessing on their social experiments.
The unbelieving world parades about before God and men flaunting their sin as though it were holy. And God is not pleased with sin, not their sin, not my sin and not your sin. He does not delight in dirty water, dirty hearts . . . or dirty bodies. God is not pleased with the world’s understanding of marriage and family and sex. God’s gift of marriage and family and sex is the one flesh union of one man and one woman who have been given to be fruitful as He sees fit. This is to be for life until parted by death. This is good for you Derek who ought not be alone and its good for you Alta who are given to Derek to be your husband’s helpmate. And it is very good for any children the Lord should bless you with who need both a father and a mother as parents.
Though the Word of God is clear, too many these day have chosen to belly up to the stone jars and drink deeply of the world’s dirty water. Choosing what feels good instead of what is right too many sleep around. Too many think marriage is all about feelings and if it’s about feelings then why limit it to one man and one woman, why not two men, two women, to two women and one man. Too many think marriage isn’t important and instead they shack up – which is really just socially acceptable concubinage. Which, by the way practically guarantees a failed marriage. Statistics show that 80% of all couples who live together before marriage eventually divorce. And the world is just fine with that too. But none of this is fine with God. God hates divorce, any divorce, every divorce – even the ones His word permits. Try to find a bible passage that says otherwise. The world likes its water but the water is poison, the water is full of filth, full of sin. The wages of sin is death. Alta and Derek, don’t look to the stone jars of this world for any blessing in your marriage.
The problem is that “they have no wine” and all they have is this water. Mary speaks to Jesus expecting Him to fix it, to change it, to make it right. We are here this evening to do the same for the two of you. We expect Jesus to take our dirty water and make it wine, make it good, make it full of gladness and joy. We expect Jesus to do this for you and for us because that’s the kind of Savior He is. He loves you both very much. He loves all of you and He wants what is good for Alta and Derek and all of you out there. He wants to give His good gifts. He wants to give Himself.
It’s for this reason that Jesus takes the world’s dirty water pots and transforms them. He takes them and fills them to the brim, fills them with a righteousness that we cannot. He suffers our filth, bears our guilt, takes upon Himself our sins. He loves the unlovely. He cleanses the dirty. He forgives the sinful. He adorns the ears of the poor with gold. The arms of the weak He gilds with righteousness. He covers over the blemishes, washes away the spots and the stains, and He carries His beloved bride across the threshold of eternity. Such a task requires hard work, His Work, His Life, His Blood. As our bridegroom, Jesus has no bride apart from His passion. Jesus gives no gifts except to those who stand in the shadow of His cross. “Men may offer their brides trinkets or other gifts from the earth such as gold, silver, precious stones,” even diamonds. (Augustine) but they do not offer their blood. They do not die to seal their marriage vows. Jesus has done this for the two of you.
Thus He takes the water of the world and He blesses it. He changes it. He blesses each of you even as His Word changes you. This is His gift. You are no longer two. Today you become one. And if God should be so moved as to open the womb, you whom He’s made one shall become three, or four, or more! And as you drink deeply of the Word of the Lord your home will be full of joy and gladness. As you receive from Jesus His good gifts your hearts will be blessed with love and tenderness. As you listen to His voice and do His bidding you will never run out of wine and every day will seem as though it’s the third day. Jesus does His best work on the third day. He gives He best gifts.
This Jesus whom you follow today and tomorrow and forevermore is risen from the dead. Death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died He died once for all, once for you and the life He lives He lives to God. This life is what He offers you as you begin your life together as you pledge “til death do us part.” This life comes through His Word and His Sacraments, through water and bread and wine.
Now, some might encourage you to drink deeply of your love – which sounds nice and kind of mushy. But, despite what Capain and Tennile say, – I know . . . you have no idea who that is – but your parents do! Despite what they say love will not keep you together – not your love, not your mushy warm fuzzy feelings, not your butterflies, not even the vows you make today as your promise to love one another forsaking all others. If you are to remain together and happy, as your parents have, as Christ desires you to be . . . then as Jesus’ disciples you must be where Jesus is giving out His gifts – you must be there together. Then, together you will be forgiven your sins – sins you’ve done against each, and those around you. Together you will bring your children to baptism so they too can receive Jesus forgiveness. Together you will call on the Name of the Lord in prayer and praise Him with hearts full of faith.
And it is my prayer that together you will feast at His table – eat His bread, bread that is His body, and drink His wine, wine that is His blood. And then together you will share life – your life and the life of Christ Jesus who blesses you with His Word today, tomorrow and forevermore. Now how’s that for a Facebook status update!
In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!