The Wedding at Cana

January 29, 2015

Has it been your experience that this story from John 2: 1 - 12 is always called "The Wedding at Cana" but we always talk about Jesus' changing the water into wine?


I wondered about the significance of this first "sign" of Jesus often grouped with his other "miracles." First what I know about "signs" in the Gospel of John. Signs in John are not simply the works we know as miracles; they are the workings of God through Jesus for the purpose of bringing belief. Where did the Jews understand they could always find God - in the Temple. The Gospel writer's use of signs brought people to belief.


Now some things I didn't know, so it would be a good idea to ask a Jewish rabbi for a clearer picture. Jewish weddings take place under a under a chuppah (wedding canopy) with a couple. The canopy represents a small sanctuary, a little Temple. The space underneath it is set aside as sacred - and found within its confines are the two partners in the marriage, God... the rabbi! It is the rabbi’s task to remind the couple of this fact: that on this day, and every day, they and God work together to create sacred space. The rest of the ceremony and the Jewish wedding rituals are all about this simple idea; that the very essence of relationship is sacred, holy, and it has the potential to profoundly affect not only each other and their family (if children are in their future), but the entire world.  All the parts of the wedding serve to remind the couple and the participants of the sacredness of relationship, The breaking of the glass reminds all of the participants of their brokenness, etc. Probably the most significant and familiar recognition of this ritual in Judaism is the blessing of wine. Into this tradition, Jesus steps and performs his first sign.


I think on Sunday, a day of big parties all through the Northwest (and probably Northeast), I'll be speaking more of how Jesus brought sacredness to the wedding instead of wine to the party. :)

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