Above: Logo of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union
When God Acts
JANUARY 17, 2016
Isaiah 62:1-5 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):
For the sake of Zion I will not be silent,
For the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still,
Till her victory emerge resplendent
And her triumph like a flaming torch.
Nations shall see your victory,
And every kin, your majesty;
And you shall be called by a new name
Which the LORD Himself shall bestow.
You shall be a glorious crown
In the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem
In the palm of your God.
Nevermore shall you be called “Forsaken,”
Nor shall your land be called “Desolate”‘;
But you shall be called “I delight in her,”
And your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD takes delight in you,
And your land shall be espoused.
As a youth espouses a maiden,
You sons shall espouse you;
And as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
So will your God rejoice over you.
Psalm 36:5-10 (New Revised Standard Version):
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (Revised English Bible):
About gifts of the Spirit, my friends, I want there to be no misunderstanding.
You know how, in the days when you were still pagan, you used to be carried away by some impulse or other to those dumb heathen gods. For this reason I must impress upon you that no one who says
A curse of Jesus!
can be speaking under the influence of the Spirit of God; and no one can say
Jesus is Lord!
except under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
There are varieties of gifts, but he same Spirit. There are varieties of service, but the same Lord. There are varieties of activity, but in all of them and in everyone the same God is active. In each of us the Spirit is seen to be at work for some useful purpose. One, through the Spirit, has the gift of wise speech, while another, by the power of the same Spirit, can put the deepest knowledge into words. Another, by the same Spirit, is granted faith; another, by the one Spirit, gifts of healing, and another miraculous powers; another has the gift of prophecy, and other the ability to distinguish true spirits from false; yet another has the gift of tongues of various kinds, and another the ability to interpret them. But all these gifts are the activity of one and the same Spirit, distributing them to each individual at will.
John 2:1-11 (Revised English Bible):
Two days later there was a wedding at Cana-in-Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also among the guests. The wine gave out, so Jesus’s mother said to him,
They have no wine left.
That is no concern of mine. My hour has yet to come.
His mother said to the servants,
Do whatever he tells you.
There were six stone water-jars standing near, of the kind used for Jewish rites of purification; each held from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants,
Fill the jars with water,
and they filled them to the brim.
Now draw some off,
and take it to the master of the feast,
and they did so. The master tasted the water now turned into wine, not knowing its source, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He hailed the bridegroom and said,
Everyone else serves the best wine first, and the poorer only when the guests have drunk freely; but you have kept the best wine til now.
So Jesus performed at Cana-in-Galilee the first of the signs which revealed his glory and led his disciples to believe in him.
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Some Related Posts:
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A:
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B:
1 Corinthians 12:
Prayer of Praise and Adoration:
Prayer of Confession:
Prayer of Dedication:
Once I read a story which might be apocryphal. There was, in the days prior to the time of Prohibition in the United States, a certain woman who traveled along the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) lecture circuit and spoke of the evils of alcohol. God, she said, wanted people to abstain from it all times. She completed her remarks and asked if anyone had any questions. One young man raised his hand. The speaker called on him. He asked,
If what you say is true, how do you explain Jesus turning water into wine?
I would like him better if he had not done that.
The readings for this Sunday speak of ways in which God acts. In Isaiah God will act in a spectacular fashion to restore exiles. As one who has read certain other parts of the Hebrew Scriptures knows, some people objected to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, its walls, and the Temple. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 contains an explanation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. All of them are manifestations of God yet the variety of them offends certain conformists. And Jesus turning water into wine in John 2:1-11, his first miracle in that Gospel, caused discomfort for many advocates of temperance. Once, years ago, I watched a documentary about Jesus movies. The program mentioned a silent film from the United States. Scenes from the wedding feast at Cana were there, but with an explanation about the use of wine in biblical times.
When God acts we might become uncomfortable. That is our problem, not any indication of a fault with God.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MARCH 30, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CLIMACUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK
THE FEAST OF SAINT INNOCENT OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX BISHOP
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOAN OF TOULOUSE, CARMELITE NUN, AND SAINT SIMON STOCK, CARMELITE FRIAR
THE FEAST OF KARL RAHNER, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN