Heard at Café: 1/16/2018

Welcome to 2018, everybody! Our first official Café of the year has come and gone, but its memory lives on... as does this summary of the evening!

Jeremy talked last Tuesday, and began by talking about celebrations - holidays like Christmas & Thanksgiving, random things like National Pickle Day & Talk Like A Pirate Day, and once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings. He eventually went on to talk about a wedding that Jesus attended about 2000 years ago with his mom and his disciples. At this point in Jesus' life, the only significant thing he had done was pick some disciples who had yet to see him perform any miracles, preach, or raise people from the dead. But then something happened...
John 2:1-12
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
So Jesus, his mother, and his disciples were all hanging out at a wedding, and then the wine runs out. Weddings were a huge deal in Jewish culture and often lasted days or until the wine ran out, so with all the wine gone, the festivities probably would've ended soon after. And after some initial reluctance and hesitation, Jesus' mom prods him into fixing the problem. He looks around, sees some stone water jars, and invites the servants to be part of making his first miracle happen - turning water into wine. This is really interesting to me for a few reasons:
  • Jesus' first miracle is done to keep a party going.
    • He could have done anything, but he chose to keep this wedding celebration alive. I think it can be easy to think of God as a scary, all-powerful being who will smite you at the first given opportunity, but I really like this imagery instead - a God who loves us and wants to celebrate with us, just because. He wants the best for us, and he cares about the little & big things that make up our everyday lives. 
  • Outside of his mother and disciples, the servants are the only ones who witness the miracle occur.
    • Jesus cares about people, but specifically makes a point to include the people who essentially fall into the background of this story. The miracle is about the bride & groom, but it's also about the less-noticed people who are just there to make the event happen. Regardless of our social standing or financial worth, Jesus invites us to be part of his story.
  • Jesus turns something often used for removing dirt and grime to create something new and special. 
    • When Jesus sees the six stone water jars, traditionally used for ceremonially cleansing, he uses those to create the new wine. What might've been seen as gross/dirty is used by Jesus to make the best wine that the wedding-goers had probably ever tasted. He makes all things new, and is a God of transformation.
After this event, the next time we see Jesus drinking wine with his disciples and pointing out its significance is at the Last Supper. Jesus begins and ends his ministry by celebrating with the closest people in his life and by using wine as a symbol of remembrance and cleansing.

We ended Café by taking communion together, and remembering Jesus' ultimate gift to us. We hope this semester will be one of celebrations, both big and small, and we invite you to join us as we celebrate the everyday joys of life together at Georgia Tech and at CCF.

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