The first time we see Jesus and his disciples - together, in one place at one time - is at the wedding in Cana. They are sitting down to a meal; a wedding banquet; a lavish feast that may have lasted for days. Mary slips by his table only to tell him the groom is about to run out of wine. She then goes to the serving girls and instructs them to do whatever her Son suggests. So Jesus tells the servants, hey - take some of those water urns over there, and ladle all that washing water into the wine pitchers, and take them to the Best Man.coming to this story this morning reduced me to a puddle of tears. it touched a soft place in my soul. getting ready to preach on the 12th has made me feel like i've got a pitcher of wash water. who am i? what have i to offer? i can't stomach the "3 pt. sermon and the what the greek words mean" kind of teaching, so i'm stuck with my story. the possibility that i'll have quite a few scholars in the audience has not escaped me. it has become very real, and quite intimidating as of late. my wash water that not too long ago looked crystal clear and refreshing now has things floating in it and is kind of murky.
Then he returns to his table, to his friends, to the party, and sits back down.
The servants did exactly as they were told and, lo and behold, the water not only become wine, but the best wine of the day. And you know what blows me away about all this?
The serving girls.
You see, they were the ones who scooped the wash-water out of those big urns. They knew it was just that - wash-water. And yet they carried it, held it in their hands, bore it across the patio to the best man. They had no earthly reason to trust Jesus - remember, this was the first miracle he had performed. Yet they bore those pitchers of water anyway, despite the risk of the best man and the groom becoming angry, despite the humiliation that would surely follow, despite the utter foolishness of their actions. And somewhere, somehow, in those steps between the whispered voice of Jesus and the laughter of the bride and groom that water became wine and the miracle - the first miracle that Jesus performed in his earthly life - the first time the glory of the Christ was revealed on earth - happened because a group of serving girls at a wedding in the back-waters of the world did exactly what Jesus asked them to. Fearlessly, selflessly, gently and humbly, they ladled out the water and began to walk and the miracle of the water and the wine was in that walk.
And we don't even know their names.
fear is getting the better of me lately. it's almost debilitating at times. i am tempted to change my topic, throw away my months (lifetime?) of prep and start over. hide behind 3 pts. and verses. but i'm intentionally leading with weakness, talking about my frailty and sharing my story. i am so tempted to come with power, shiny, bright knowledge meant to impress. i know that is not what i am supposed to do though deep down in my heart, but the temptation is so real. protection sometimes feels like a better option.
walking the line between not sharing parts of myself that are unhealed and still tender, and speaking my truth into the room and standing on the authority i have earned in living through this life of mine is like a tightrope. having the faith of the servant girls and carrying my pitcher, knowing that it is mine and no one can take it away from me.
this community truly is a safe place. i have seen that there are many here who are allowed to be their unique selves without being forced to fit a mold. i know i can be my unique self here too - i just need to trust myself more i think. trust that what i've been given has value and worth. that is a muscle in my person that doesn't have a lot of use yet. that's really the biggest part of this opportunity i have been given. to break through my own fear and just do it.
so thank you jack (i'm assuming that's what rhymes with kerouac), you have helped me today to unlock a big door that was blocking me from walking across the room. god bless you and your work at the mission.