Reading: John 2-12
In this reading we find the famous and first miracle, or sign, of Jesus – turning water into wine.
The story is rich with double meaning and imagery, as most of the stories in John’s Gospel are. What stands out to me is the very last line in this story:
“After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days.”
“They remained there for a few days…” That line is so full of possibilities. Jesus just performed an act that is inhuman, an act that points solely to the supernatural – to the Divine. He performed this miracle and then skipped town, as He liked to do. The next story in John’s Gospel occurs in Jersusalem, so it can be assumed that this time in Capernaum was spent alone with his disciples. Praying, eating, discussing, laughing – Jesus spent these days with his disciples, showing them the Love of God and being in community with them. It is from these experiences that the first disciples built the Christian Church. Something happened in the time they spent with Jesus Christ that changed them and made them able to start a movement of love and connection with the Living God (something we now call the Church). They remained in that place with the Lord. They weren’t worried about this or that, running from meeting to meeting. They remained in the presence of the Lord.
The same thing that happened in their conversations and dinners with Jesus happens to us in the Breaking of the Bread on Sunday mornings (and whenever we gather in God’s name)…at least in theory. Eucharist is so much more than a religious ceremony or rite. It is real chance for us to gather around the Table of the Lord and to experience the same presence and fellowship felt by the women and men who remained with Jesus.
The ball is our court now. God is here. Jesus is here. The Holy Spirit is here. The Triune God is present in the Breaking of the Bread. Are we present to receive that presence? Do we remain with God? Are we ready to accept the duty and responsibility that comes with taking the Body and Blood of Jesus, in being present in the Eucharist?
The responsibility to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people” is real and is placed upon us when we claim to know and to love Jesus. When we share in the Feast that the Lord has provided, when we remain in the presence of the Risen and Living God we are bound to operate by God’s rule – “To love God with all your heart, soul and mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself”.
Reading: John 1:43-51
When Nathaniel is told of the Teacher from Nazareth his first reaction is disbelief. It isn’t disbelief in the simple, pleasant, “I don’t understand” sort-of way…it is snarky, almost cocky disbelief. “Nothing good comes from Nazareth.” Nathaniel knew the badlands of Nazareth and he knew the sort of people who came from Nazareth. How could the Great Shepherd come from a place like Nazareth? It’s a country village. It’s backwoods. It’s not as progressive. It’s too simple.
Then, in a way that only Jesus could, the whole conversation is flipped on its head. Nathaniel comes to the conversation full of doubt, but he leaves full of hope in the One, True Christ. His faith is in it’s infancy, but Jesus tells him to look ahead – ahead to when he will see “angles ascending and descending upon the Son of Man”.
We all come to Jesus with doubts. Our preconceived notions cloud our vision of the Divine. “The Christ can’t be from Nazareth.” “God can’t forgive me of all I’ve done.” “I am not worthy to be used by God.”
When the smoke clears and the Divine comes into focus we can taste and see that Jesus is calling out to us, saying, “I saw you when you were sitting under the fig tree…but you will see greater things than these.”
Jesus says, “I saw you” and because of that, we will see greater things than we could ever imagine.