The Cold Springer - Week of January 20, 2019
Sunday, Jan. 20th, 2019 - Holy Baptism
Back Talking Your Mother
When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." The Gospel of John
The story of Jesus at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, where he turns water into 180 gallons of great wine, is recorded in such a way that the reader (or hearer, as it was first intended) is transported right into the scene. You can hear the revelry and music, smell the roasted lamb, taste the wine… It’s as if we’ve received a wedding invitation ourselves and are present to this first miracle; a sign of God’s transformative power and abundant grace. It reads like a firsthand
There are classic interpretations, but aside from what the tradition holds up, the beauty of this brief parley is that each of us brings to it our own experience of parental relationships. The standard exegesis begins by explaining that Jesus’s’ response to Mary is nowhere near as curt as it first seems. He calls her ‘woman’ and the old school scholars tell us its a term of endearment lost in translation. Commentators feel compelled to soften Jesus up, putting new words in his mouth, as if he were saying: “Don’t worry Mother; you don’t quite understand what is going on; leave things to me, and I will settle them in my own way.”
So we get Jesus wrapped in a nice, gentle and all-knowing (read: condescending and authoritative) package. But what’s wrong with taking Jesus at face value in this vignette? I mean, look, Jesus got invited to a wedding where Mary, his mother, had some position of authority in the realm of hospitality. He and his friends (4 or 5; his first apostles) are enjoying themselves, drinking wine and eating, and she interrupts their merriment with a statement of implication and expectation.
This isn’t a “Don’t worry, Mother...” moment. It’s a “Geez, Mom, I’m thirty years old, leave me alone,” kind of moment. But Mary knew he would come to his senses, she didn’t even need to reply. Like any middle eastern mother, she raised him to understand how humiliating it would be for a newly wed couple to run out of wine at their own party. But more importantly, Mary raised Jesus to know that the expectations were not hers, but his Father’s.
In this interpretation, it’s not Jesus’s authority that instigates this first miracle in the gospel of John, it’s Mary’s. She was his mother and she knew it was time for him to spread his wings. She wasn’t getting on his case, she was setting him on his way, pushing him out of the nest. Yes, Jesus and his brothers may have been the breadwinners of their extended household, but Mary was the house holder. She had the key to the door and at this wedding she handed it to Jesus.
This wasn’t just a moment of epiphany for the disciples, it was a moment of epiphany for Jesus. “Maybe now’s as good a time as any,” he said, looking over his shoulder at his friends as he walked toward the kitchen.
Either way one interprets this conversation - as Jesus knowing all along what he would do or as Jesus needing a little encouragement from his mother - it’s a hinge; a moment when something shifts. Jesus answers the call to move more deeply into his ministry. Jesus’ real work begins, the work for which he was born.
As parents and children, we encounter moments like this throughout our lives. Moments when we realize that we are being asked to live into our full potential. It is in the midst of supportive communities and families that we are given the freedom and forgiveness to respond to epiphanies and discover in them our own true selves: the image and likeness of God.
May you and your families continue to encounter epiphanies, ah-hah moments, when God’s presence in your lives is revealed and you discover opportunities realize the fullness of your potential.
Yours in Christ,
The Reverend Jesse Lebus
Last week our young parishioners heard the Godly Play story about Baptism. This week they will get to revisit what they discovered and then come down to the “big church” to see a baptism up close, from the altar rail. After regrouping they will return to the church to receive communion with their families. This is a wonderful opportunity to ask your children questions about the sacrament of baptism: “What part of the baptism did you like the most?” “Why?” “What happened when you were baptized?” You never know what epiphany you might encounter through the wisdom and faith of your children.
Elements of Faith
Our Elements of Faith gang will stay in church to see the Baptism this week. So no class in the Lee Library this week.
Family Friday - Baking & Breaking Bread
Tonight - January 18 @ 6pm
290 Harbor Road
Our clergy families will host the third annual bread baking winter Family Friday. All families are welcome to join us for a fun seasonal meal, beverages, and baking bread for Sunday's Eucharist. The main course will be provided, so please bring sides or salads to share.
MLK Jr. Day of Service
St. John's Church
St. John’s Church, Cold Spring Harbor and The Outreach Program are partnering to help familiesbring well balanced meals to their tables. Your help is needed make the dream come true!
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his prophetic witness for peace and justice we are hosting our meal making day of service. Folks of all ages are welcome to join in the effort to make over 20,000 meals in a few hours. If you took part last year, than you know it's possible and amazing what we can do to help those who are hungry.
Please join us. Community Service time available.