Christ Lutheran Church
January 16, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
The Wedding At Calvary
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding along with his disciples; and when the wine ran out Jesus' Mother said to him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "What is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come. His Mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:1-5)
Whenever we read Scripture we should take it at face value as much as that is possible. And when it is not, such as when the Lord says, “if your right hand causes you to sin cut it off,” or when he says, “sell all that you have and give it to the poor” – then we should learn whatever lesson the Lord has in mind for us. But that is only a first move.
To read the Holy Letters and take them at face value is like sailing over the ocean’s surface in a boat with no thought about what might lie beneath the surface.
Oceanographers are people who, while appreciating the marvels of the surface, can never be content until they learn what is beneath – where there is a whole wonderful world so vast and varied that no one can take it in; and there will never be an end to oceanography.
The baptized who gather to commune with their Lord on the First Day of the week must also become oceanographers of a sort. We should appreciate the surface, and never stop gazing at it’s wonder. But we must also put on our diving gear and find out what is below – that is how it is with today’s gospel.
If you take in the surface you will learn some amazing things about the love and power of Jesus. You will also learn the infinite value that our God places on his holy institution of marriage: in that Jesus attended this wedding, and chose it to be the setting of the Chief of his signs (the one from which all others flow).
You will also learn how to pray from the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos as she is called, the Bearer and Mother of God. What a prayer! Delightful by its simplicity! “They have no wine!”
Please notice that the Blessed Virgin is not a “prayer warrior.” She does not storm heaven with a secret prayer formula guaranteed to wrench God’s good gifts from him. Her prayer is simple: they have no wine.
And our prayers need be no more complicated than that if we address them to the right Person; and that person is not the Blessed Virgin, but to the God/Man she bore, and who fully shares in our human flesh and human nature through her.
Next time you are driven to prayer, pray like the Virgin: They have no health, they have no peace, they have no work, they have no sense, they have no hope, and you can be certain that our God will tend to the problem according to his good and gracious will.
And so don’t be anxious and don’t be afraid!
And if a troubled person asks your advice you can confidently answer, “Do whatever he tells you,” and you will never be disappointed!
But there is more.
You know that when a famous author writes a book the first step is to create an outline. Point 1. Point 1a. Point 1a1 and so on. When the outline is done the book is all but written, but the outline is not the book, not the story, but an outline.
The same is true of great artists. They will often make a pencil sketch of what will soon be a glittering work of art that takes your breath away. But the pencil drawing is not the finished product, but only a first step.
What we hear in today’s holy gospel is the same.
The Wedding at Cana was but a sketch of another wedding that would take place at Calvary; but the Lord’s hour had not yet come; but it would come; and it is the holy Christian faith that that hour when the Lord said, “It is finished,” or “It is fulfilled,” would be for all of humanity, and for the entire cosmos, its most golden and precious hour.
But lest we jump ahead of ourselves, take notice of the sketch, the outline if you like, and how it shows us the finished work – which is the Lord’s perfect liturgy offered up to God, for us men and for our salvation. And … there is nothing more important than Salvation because it is forever.
No! We need not die for our sins or in our sins, because Jesus died for us, and in our place. And so rejoice in heaven all ye that dwell therein, for Christ is coming soon.
Now the first thing we need to know in order to compare the sketch to the finished product is that what took place at Calvary was a wedding.
Jesus was there.
His mother was there.
And if not all of his disciples attended, there was at least one was there: the Lord’s beloved disciple. The one whose burning love for his Lord banished trepidation from his heart, so that he was willing and able, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, to stand before the cross watching his Lord pour out the New Wine for the: life of the dead world.
Ahh! The perfect liturgy! St. John and the Blessed Virgin communing with the Lord’s death, and his resurrection on “the third day” that was encapsulated within it.
How was Calvary a wedding?
One of the chief icons of Scripture is God as Husband, and Israel as his beloved Bride – but one who showed herself the most wicked and unfaithful bride ever to be. But God’s love is bigger than all our unfaithfulness, and never wavered! He refused to divorce her though she richly, richly deserved it.
In the New Testament that icon is Christ and his Bride the Church. We learn this in Ephesians Chapter Five; and in Genesis where God says, “A man will leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24)
In order to understand what is beneath the surface of Scripture we must see Genesis Two not primarily as the institution of earthly marriage, but rather Jesus as the Man who left his heavenly Father, and went to the Cross, in order to cleanse us, his dear Bride, from every spot, stain and wrinkle; and to present us to himself in glowing, splendorous and fetching Beauty. It was there, too, that he left his mother, and gave her over to the keeping of his Beloved Disciple with the words: Mother Behold! Thy son. Son Behold! thy mother.
Now there are many more comparisons that we could make between the Wedding at Cana, and the Wedding at Calvary, but not all the books in the world would be able to contain them. And so where comprehension ends, worship begins. O come let us adore him! Amen.