Monday, January 07, 2013

Water and Wine

Monday, January 7, 2013 -- The Epiphany and Following (Year One)

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 942)

Psalms 103 (morning)       114, 115 (evening)
Isaiah 52:3-6
Revelation 2:1-7
John 2:1-11

There are three stories that are traditionally identified with the feast of the Epiphany -- the baptism of Jesus, the visit of the magi, and the wedding miracle of turning water into wine.  The word "Epiphany" means "manifestation" or "appearing".  The presence and power of God appears through the incarnation of Jesus.  He is manifested as God's beloved at his baptism in the Jordan River.  When the magi visit, Jesus is manifested to the Gentiles.  His first miracle, turning water into wine, is a sign revealing his identity as God's anointed.  This set of stories celebrates the epiphany of God in Jesus.  In some parts of the Christian world, the Incarnation of Jesus is celebrated on January 6, the Epiphany.  In many parts of the church it is the day of gift giving.

So it is particularly appropriate on the day after the Epiphany that we read the story of Jesus' first miracle and sign, the turning of water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.

There is a big difference between water and wine.  In this story, it is the difference between social disgrace and community acclaim.  The host at a wedding is expected to serve and entertain his guests.  For him to run out of wine would be a scandal that would bring shame.  In a shame-based society, where social standing is strictly ordered by custom, such a failure of hospitality would shadow an entire family -- the new couple would begin their life marked by shame.

Jesus rescues this family.  Jesus turns shame into honor.  The feast and the celebration of the wedding party is renewed and strengthened rather than interrupted.  The wine comes in abundance, extravagant gallons that will gladden hearts and oil the conversation of a joyful community. 

Later, at the end of his life, Jesus will take wine again and use it to reinterpret his pending shameful death.  He will transform his execution as a criminal into the path of life and resurrection.  His companions will know the presence and power of renewed life through the breaking of bread and drinking of the wine of Eucharist, and their sorrow from the cross will turn to joy.  The wine of Jesus' death comes in abundance.  For thousands of years this gift has gladdened hearts and healed the hurts of the joyful community.

Life with Jesus is like the difference between water and wine.  His presence bring color, depth, and flavor to our lives.  His loving spirit relaxes our anxieties, opens us to joy, and brings us together into a  community of celebration.  He brings us good cheer.  Let our hearts be renewed and gladdened this morning.  The sun/son is arising and it is time to celebrate.


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen and amen! Living with the love of Jesus in your heart allows Him to shine through you to others. Don't miss this opportunity--it is awesome, as you are blessed in the process!


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