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Notes from Steve:
January 16, 2022
“What Is Your Insight?”
(Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11)
Did you notice? On November 26th just a few years ago, a spacecraft called “Insight” landed on the surface of Mars. Insight will feed data back to scientists on earth about the red planet. Incredible, right? But it seems the news of the Insight’s landing on Mars didn’t make much of a news splash. Perhaps it’s because we’ve come a long way since Apollo 11 landed on the moon back in 1969, and we’ve become rather blasé about such achievements. Seems to me we could say the same about the accounts of Jesus, including today’s “water to wine” miracle from John’s gospel.
This is the first of Jesus’ almost 40 miracles from scripture. Wedding hosts were expected to provide wine (a very common drink at the time due to the scarcity of water) for guests; the inability to do so brought shame to the hosts. Jesus turning water to wine (not only wine, but the best wine) was a miracle, and pointed his early followers to his divine nature. Yet we have read and heard this account so often, it seems the miraculous nature of Jesus has lost some of its luster. In addition, the concept of Jesus’ desire to use US as agents of miraculous transformation is often lost on us. I believe Isaiah and Paul point this out to us in today’s other readings.
Isaiah is addressing today’s words to those who are returning after almost 50 years in Babylonian captivity. Their beloved homeland and precious temple (in Jerusalem) have been reduced to nothing more than ashes and ruins. How discouraging! Yet Isaiah reminds them of God’s future miracle making, and their call to be agents of miraculous transformation in the world. In particular, verses 2-3 inform the people of what’s ahead: no longer will they be viewed as a conquered people. Instead, people will witness their once devastated nation rise from the ashes to be God’s light unto other nations. Talk about miracles!
In today’s reading from Corinthians, Paul reminds the young church in Corinth what it will take for them to answer God’s call and mission on their church. As people argued about whose gift was more important (some had the gift of teaching, while others had the gift of prophecy, etc.) Paul taught that each gift was ordained by God, but none was more important than the other. Instead, if they would use their gifts together as the body of Christ, miraculous ministry and transformation would happen.
I wonder, what is your insight? What have you learned from our readings this morning? And, what is your other insight….that is, just as we take for granted that a spacecraft launched from the U.S. traveling over 34 million miles is now planted on the surface of Mars, what is it about the nature of Jesus we have come to take for granted? And in Jesus calling us to be the church together-have we lost the import of that? Have we somehow watered-down the notion that Jesus desires to use us as agents of miraculous transformation in a very difficult world?
It is appropriate that we consider this as we continue our entry into a new year. How will God call on us in 2022, and how will our relationship with Jesus inspire us as we behold his divinity? Also, how will God again use humankind again to bring miraculous transformation? May our readings today deliver us from the mundane to the miraculous, as we continue our journey together. Amen.