2nd Sunday after Epiphany – Year C (1/20/13)

18 Jan

Isaiah 62:1-5
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11

Psalm 36: 5-10

May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!

OPENING QUESTIONS

  • When you think of a “good marriage” relationship, what are the 3 most important elements that in your mind make it meet that definition?
  • How is “imagination” helpful to a successful relationship?

APPOINTED PASSAGES

Isaiah 62:1 – 5

1For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
2The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
5For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you

  • What aspects of our relationship with God are like a marriage?
  • What words in addition to “glory” describe a loving marriage relationship?

1 Corinthians 12:1 – 11

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.

4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

  • Do each of us have a responsibility to identify, develop, and utilize our gifts?
  • How can the success of using our gifts be measured in terms of their helpfulness?

John 2:1 – 11

1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ 4And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ 5His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ 6Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.’

  • The transformation of water into wine was a magical unexpected gift from God through Jesus. As you think of your loving relationships, can you name examples of magical moments that you are thankful for?
  • What other signs of “abundance” emerge in a loving marriage (or marriage celebration)?

COMMENT

Today’s lessons present the idea of identifying similarities between a human marriage and our relationship with God. In both, we have a responsibility to contribute toward maintaining the relationship – and yet need to have patience of not necessarily understanding the specific rationale behind each of the actions our partner undertakes. We accept, and abide in our knowledge of the love we have for each other, and endure. We know that there will be times of difficulty and joy. Joy that will make us rejoice in ourselves and each other, and challenges that, if we digest them appropriately, will make us stronger and of healthier character.

God gives us a glimpse of his abundance in the descriptions of todays old testament lesson (all the kings will see your glory… a royal diadem in the hand of God… my delight is in her) that are expressions of His love for us. As well, with the gift of transformation of water to wine in remarkable abundance at the wedding, Jesus hints at what is to come through his life with us. When we think about them, both stir our imaginations to explore who we are in relation to who we can be. Aspirations are important elements of our faith….and it is healthy to develop them.

Indeed, the Corinthians passage references our different gifts of the Holy Spirit with a hint that we might celebrate their existence. Just as in the relationship of marriage, we also have a responsibility to recognize and embrace our capabilities (our gifts) – and engage them to the best of our abilities.

My prayer for each of us is that we contemplate the immense possibilities that God’abundance brings to each of us. Also that we translate those possibilities into dreams and visions for how to engage our gifts for ourselves and each other. The world is a better place when our purpose is clear. We feel right with God, ourselves, and those with whom we share a loving and committed relationship.

QUOTES FOR TODAY:

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

Oscar Wilde

A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

Gloria Steinem

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