A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on
Sunday 3 November 2013 by the Rev. Dr. John
LeMond. The scripture readings
that day were Psalm 100; Colossians 3:9-17 and John 2:1-11.
story of the wedding at Cana is one of the
most well known of Jesus’ miracle stories.
because it is the first of Jesus’ miracles.
is attending a wedding along with his disciples.
his mother calls him aside and tells him that there is no more wine.
may wonder what Mary expected Jesus to do about it?
she didn’t know herself.
simply says to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you to do.”
then Jesus immediately turns the water in the six stone jars into wine
but the very best wine…better
than the wine that was served first.
who knew what happened seemed to be quite impressed.
passage tells us that the disciples were so impressed
that they believed in Jesus
from that time on.
what are we to make of this miracle
there were so many more important things that could have been done by Jesus.
turn water into wine?
why do it at a wedding?
do we make of this miracle today?
one level, it seems more like a trick than a miracle.
this event something that we often choose to tell others about when we are
speaking of our faith?
“Listen, I want to tell you about my faith…about
“You see, I serve a powerful God.”
“In fact, my God turned water into wine.”
When we put it that way, it doesn’t really sound all
And yet, we are told that Jesus’ glory was manifested in this action.
How strange this seems to us today.
We experience much greater miracles all around us
every single day
In fact, we are inundated with miracles much greater
I can pick up a small box that fits into the palm of
And speak into it…and talk with my children in America.
can push a button on a screen in my living room and watch people in Israel, Jesus’ home.
I can push another button and go immediately to
another part of the world.
watch a farmer planting his crops in China; or a pianist playing beautiful music in Vienna.
I’ve watched a man walk on the moon.
I’ve flown like a bird, except much faster than any
bird has ever flown--600 mph.
want information, the accumulated wisdom of the ages is at my fingertips on the
these are only the beginning of the
miracles that have become commonplace in my life.
turned water into wine.
We have come to a point in the history of humanity.
When we are no longer impressed by such simple things
want wine, I can buy as much as I want;
why do we need Jesus?
fact, why do we need God?
this world of human miracles…who needs a savior at all?
And yet, there is something that
draws us to Jesus anyway.
are almost embarrassed to say it…
there is something in this simple story of water and wine
still meets a need in our lives;
touches a part of our lives that our other miracles don’t touch.
aren’t quite sure if we can say, like Jesus’ disciples, that we believe because of this miracle.
feel intuitively that there is something there that we’ve missed.
we are missing in our lives.
it doesn’t take long to realize what we are missing.
are missing the amazing taste of new wine in our lives
are not missing the fact of miracles
have become commonplace to us
the amazement of the headwaiter is what we are missing.
“What is this?” he asks as he tastes the wine.
is not just wine, this is a delicious taste.
is not only not the cheap wine that
comes at the end of the feast.
is better than the best wine that came at the beginning.
is not just a miracle
is an experience of delight.
Delight in the taste of something so rich and wonderful.
is not the kind of miracle that casts doubt on the need for God.
is the kind of experience that elicits in one thanks to God for creating such wine.
who taste this wine at the wedding know
that God’s hand is in it.
have no idea who Jesus is.
But in tasting this wine they know that they have
touched something glorious.
That is what we are missing.
And that is what we want for our lives.
And Psalm 100 encourages us:
It says to us: Yes!
This is what you were made for.
Amazement at the glory of God.
Shout joyfully to
the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before him with joyful
Because it is the Lord God who has made us.
It is the Lord God whom we taste in this new wine.
One who gladdens our hearts the way this wine gladdens our
We have not made ourselves,
nor are we made whole by our modern miracles.
In this simple act…is revealed to us the promise of God for
The glorious taste of
This is what we want.
In this simple miracle story of water and wine,
God has chosen to create a miracle of renewal in our world
And Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, assures us
This is not simply for God’s chosen people
It is for all people
Whether we call ourselves Anglicans or Baptists;
Whether we call ourselves Christians or Jews or Muslims.
Somehow, Paul says, this new wine is all in all
And like Jesus’ disciples, we don’t ask how this could be
We simply believe.
Yes, we are almost embarrassed to say it.
But this is what we wanted all along.
This simple faith in an amazing new reality.
When I think of new wine,
And singing joyful songs in the Lord,
I think of the community at Taizé.
The community gathered
every day: morning, noon and night.
The brothers and their guests come together to pray and sing.
This is the effect that the new wine of Jesus Christ
In the midst of a world that seems to offer little more than
Where the good wine seems to have been drunk long ago
Where in fact life-giving wine seems to have disappeared
And we sing out in unexpected joy.
This was never more true than in August of 2005.
Taizé’s founder, Brother Roger, 90 years old at the time,
had joined the community in daily prayer and song
joined by 2,500 others in the
church of the reconciliation.
Suddenly a mentally ill woman
came up behind the elderly Roger
and stabbed him in the neck.
The gathered assembly didn’t realize what
had happened at first
and they continued to sing out:
Laudate dominum! Praise the Lord.
Brother Roger died in the arms of his
And still people continued to sing.
To sing with joy to the Lord.
The taste of new wine causes us to song,
not because everything is fine,
but because even in the midst of a
world of disappointment,
unfulfilled dreams and death.
The taste of new wine remains on our
tongues and elicits songs of joy.
It calls us to faith, even when faith and hope seem
Even when our neighbor takes our life,
the new wine causes us to burst forth in joyful songs to the
That is amazing.
That is the miracle that touches us and draws us toward
Yes, give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good
To all generations.