I’ve read it before, but haven’t ever paid much heed to it: the story of the wedding at Cana. This particular story doesn't describe one of Jesus’ more dramatic miracles after all. Turning water into wine isn’t on par with raising the dead, or eradicating lesions from oozing skin or driving demons from the possessed. The wine at the wedding is lovely, a nice gesture and all, but in the past I’ve always skimmed through this story, more interested in getting to what I considered the more important parts of John’s gospel. In my haste, I always missed this line:
“This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11 MSG).
As my pastor so astutely pointed out, Jesus takes what’s ordinary and readily available at the wedding banquet – water – and turns it into the extraordinary. And it’s up to us to glimpse his presence, both in this story and in our own lives…and believe.
That’s my trouble. So often I'm so focused on looking for the drama – the miracle cure, the CNN headline – that I miss the everyday glimpses of God, the extraordinary in the ordinary.
After Pastor Sara had concluded her sermon the ushers filed up and down the aisles to pass the offertory plates. I heard music in the background as I shifted in the pew and handed off the silver plate to my seatmate, crossing and recrossing my legs, brushing my bangs out of my eyes, repositioning my purse on the floor. I missed the first half of the song, a classical piece composed and performed by a young man.
I finally quit fidgeting, quieted and turned my gaze toward the altar as the musician played the grand piano, notes wafting high toward cross and beam.
As the ushers finished the collection I sensed the entire congregation quiet, focus, succumb. The young man played, shoulders swaying slightly, body moving fluid, notes lifting in rejoicing crescendo. I sat still, hushed by holiness flowing from fingers to keys, joy rising, saturating the sanctuary.
The last notes rang into stillness. The young man stood, a lean teenager with a mop of shaggy hair hanging, plaid shirt untucked over dark wash jeans. He shuffled down the altar steps toward his pew and sat with a shy smile.
Spell broken, the ushers delivered the offering to the altar as we stood, folding bulletins, smoothing rumpled pants, leaning on pews.
But I breathed in and out long and deep. For I had glimpsed God in a boy and a song, a song played by a shaggy-hair boy in plaid, a boy who had lifted joyful refrains sky-high to heaven.
I had glimpsed ordinary turned extraordinary, everyday turned holy. I had glimpsed water turned into wine.
I had glimpsed His glory.