This week, John invites us to the wedding in Cana, and the celebration is already underway. After their last “I do,” newlyweds were not whisked away for a secluded honeymoon. They were paraded through the streets to their new home, where they entertained family and friends for seven days. “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger,” perhaps they reasoned.
If we read this familiar story too quickly, we could miss its wonder. Like the celebratory feast, we should take time to savor the experience. As we survey the scene, we recognize some of the wedding guests. From the first verse forward, John mentions three times that the mother of Jesus is there and describes how essential she is to this plot. John does not include her name, but we know it well.
At weddings we retell family stories. So when we see Mary and her son Jesus among the guests, we remember the stories we love to tell about them. Her life-changing message from Gabriel and her comforting visit with Elizabeth. Her long trip with Joseph to Bethlehem, where they cared for Jesus with swaddling clothes and a manger. The spectacular birth announcement filling the sky and prompting awe from shepherds and presents from the Magi. The temple blessings of Simeon and Anna. Their parental panic of losing twelve-year-old Jesus and their bewilderment when finding him. How Mary ponders all this in her heart.
John doesn’t tell the stories of Mary learning to parent Jesus. Matthew and Luke do that. But John does include this picture of a devoted mother ready to see her son’s ministry begin. May we be ready to see that too.
As you read the scripture this week, picture yourself at this wedding. What do you see, ask, and experience as you take time to ponder this story?
God, thank you for inviting us to experience the stories of Scripture. Guide us to the wonder we often miss and help us meet you there. Amen.