Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 119:73-80; 145, Deuteronomy 8:1-20, Hebrews 2:11-18, John 2:1-12
In the lyrics to “Beautiful Boy” John Lennon famously wrote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (though he borrowed it from comic strip author Allen Saunders). It seems this may have been true even for Jesus.
The first miracle in John’s gospel is the transformation of water into wine at a wedding Jesus attended with his mother in Cana. When Mary told him that the wine had run out, Jesus brushed her off: “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” Undeterred, Mary instructed the waiters to do whatever Jesus told them. In short order, they had about 150 gallons of high-quality wine.
This is kind of an odd miracle for a public debut. It was at a relatively private affair with only a few witnesses. It doesn’t have the same life-changing impact as a healing, or the grandeur of feeding multitudes with a few leftovers. It doesn’t seem to have agreed-upon theological interpretation. Given Mary’s expectations, it likely wasn’t even his first one.
Here’s what we do know: there was a need in front of him, and he met it. If we are to follow in his footsteps, maybe we don’t need to know much more. Many of us have plans and goals, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if while we’re waiting for our hour to come we are so narrowly focused that we ignore the needs in front of us, whom exactly are we serving?
While we plan, let’s stay aware of the possibilities for service that at first blush may not seem to be of concern to us. Yes we all have demands on our time, but at the end of the day what will make that time matter? The lawn we need to mow won’t grow any taller during the five minutes it takes to check in with the ailing neighbor looking out her window. Our gesture does not need to be grand, nor our influence broad, to matter. Every one of us can turn time into love.
Comfort: Your small gifts can be enormous when given to someone else.
Challenge: Take regular pauses during your day to reflect on how you might serve someone in material or spiritual need.
Prayer: God of love, give me a servant’s heart. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever let your determination to reach a goal crowd out important things in your life?
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