Our Need For a Miracle~ Dr. Brian Clardy

Sermon Given January 16, 2022

“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his
glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
May I speak to you this morning in the Blessed Name of the One True
and Living God +Father, Son, and Holy Spirit+ Amen

It is rather interesting that at the end of our Christmas celebration, where
for several days we marked the mystery of the Incarnation, that the
lectionary readings for Ordinary Time focuses upon the first recorded
miracle from John’s Gospel.
Indeed, it is ironic that the none of the other Synoptic Gospels record
this miracle. I suspect it is because the writer of John focused mainly on
the notion of Jesus as the eternal and all powerful “Logos.” That Jesus
was no Nietzschean Superman, or one trick magician, but that the power
of Jesus rested in His Divinity, Power, Self Sufficiency, and
Unconditional Love. In Chapter One of this Gospel, John is
unequivocal: We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only
Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John the Baptizer bore witness at the Jordan River, as did the voice of
the Father…….as did the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
Yet the exact power of this Creator God/Man was known only to a scant
few.
Somehow His Messianic credentials had to become established in the
eyes of His Would-be followers so that the Salvific Work of God could
reach its apex.
And God chose to reveal God’s power at…………of all places………. a
wedding reception.
The wedding celebrations of First Century Palestine lasted for days. And
the family of the wedded couple were expected to be well supplied with
food and beverages. This spoke to their ability to be hospitable hosts, as
well as their larger social standing. If they failed at this effort, they
would be the subject of ridicule.And sure enough, that nightmare scenario unfolded in real time as they
ran out of wine. Seeing this, the Ever-Blessed Mary knew that this
family faced public humiliation, but she also knew that the One Person
who could resolve this crisis was sitting right in their midst: Her
Son…whose Birth was a historic miracle.
Upon a reading of this text, one would get the impression that Jesus was
rather miffed by His Mother’s strange request. The fact that he used the
phrase “Woman” to address her, could be viewed as a sign of disrespect.
This would be a false rendering of the text. Jesus often used the word
“Woman” when addressing the women in His Life, especially those who
were close to Him. I see His use of the noun as a term of endearment.
Jesus’ response is rather interesting.
Why this wedding? Why this crisis? Why now?
Jesus knew the social mores of standards of His Day. He knew the
shame that this family would face if this wedding feast ended with this
sudden loss of face. The fact that He cared enough about this family’s
reputation, speaks volumes about Jesus’ character and concern for even
the most personal details of their lives.
But there is far more to this miracle than just turning water into wine.
The wine that was served, courtesy of the Divine, turned out to be of
better quality than had been served initially; a fact not lost upon the
Governor of the Feast.
Jesus had not only provided a miracle, but His Solution to the problem
turned out even greater than the degree of the crisis.

The decade of the 2020s has been riddled with crisis, disaster, turmoil
and unending drama.
We enter the third year of a pandemic that has witnessed the loss of
nearly six million deaths globally. The end of this crisis is nowhere in
sight, as by our masked presence in this Sacred Space today.
Our society is ravaged by the rise of autocracy around the world, as it
seems as though participatory democracy is viewed as week……that
civil discourse is waning. We live in a scary Orwellian post-truth reality
where Violence is celebrated and virtue is seen as a weakness.
Our country is beset by unresolved intolerance. Even on this eve of the
national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we live in a
society where old hatreds are reaching a boiling point. We are no where
near that Promised Land of which Dr. King spoke in his last message
to humanity in 1968.
And to complicate matters, our global order teeters on the brink of war,
as autocratic powers, enamored with greed and arrogance, seek to prey
upon the weak and defenseless.
We certainly could use a miracle during in this season of Epiphany.
The events at the Wedding Feast at Cana demonstrate important
lessons and words of encouragement that we simply must not
ignore:
That God is not distant, removed, or indifferent. That God is the
Unmoved Mover and the Great “I Am.”
That God sits with us in the midst of our greatest celebrations, and our
deepest hurts.
That God has a direct and personal stake in the outcome of our story and
is powerful enough, not only to provide a solution, but that the solution
to the crisis clearly outweighs any ignominy that we face.
The lesson of John’s Gospel speaks directly to a God, who is not a
Cosmic Magician, but a loving Creator who (in the words of my late
philosophy professor Dr. F. Lewis Mauldin) “knows ALL of life’s
possibilities.”
No matter what happens in these uncertain days……….no matter the
noise the smoke and mirrors or blaring alarms……no matter the level of
tragedy that may unfold……no matter how disarming the
predicament……. that we have an intimate relationship with a God who
can and will provide a miracle for us at our darkest hour.
Hold on.
Sit tight.
Don’t Give Up.
God Cares.
Help us on the Way.
Amen.