Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wedding at Cana

"Woman, what concern is this to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." John 2:4

Since our second oldest, Ariel, announced her engagement of Christmas day, things have been a bit topsy-turvy. Lots of excitement, conversation and back and forth about the whys, whens and hows of this good news. Last week my daughters dug out my wedding dress which my mother had made for me from unbleached muslin and antique lace handed down in our family. We laughed and carried on and my youngest, Phoebe tried it on and we took pictures. They kidded us parents again about having such a 'hippie" wedding. Later in the week we went to Allentown to help Ariel pick out a dress and entered the weird and challenging world of bridal gown sales people. It was a roller coaster of expectations and delays but we found something she liked and we could afford. Weddings have the capacity to draw families together and to tear them apart. High expectations challenge relationships in very strange ways. In the midst of the happiness, lots of other scary behavior can present itself. Most clergy and church musicians would rather do a funeral than a wedding any day. Not because they don't approve of the wedding, or because they don't love and care for the people, but because the heightened anxiety can become toxic. At funerals, people really just want to be helped through the grieving time. At weddings, everybody wants to have their ideas aired and very few listen to the bride and groom, let alone the clergy.

We find Jesus at the wedding in Cana with his mother. In this brief bit of dialog, we find a timeless interaction of mother and child, of expectations and personalities, of frustration and love. It is all mixed up in the few words that are exchanged. Jesus had chosen disciples but had not begun his ministry. Mom knows her son's potential and is impatient with his sense of timing. He's not ready and she's sure it is long past time. These few words put each and everyone of us at this scene. Between family and self, between community and ministry, we sometimes find ourselves not ready to go and others pushing. Or we see the potential and are finally impatient with an individual or community as they slowly prepare for the blossoming, long-awaited ministry, job, identity change, etc. Ready and not yet. Mary tells the servants to do what her son says and in doing so helps usher his first miracle, despite his reluctance. Among family and friends, Jesus shows his true capacity, his true identity, his true self. And Mary, his mother, helps him be more than her son.

Today, I want to celebrate all the ways I and others are in transition. These transitions point to a new blossoming of ministry, a new chapter in life and new way of being. There is lots of resistance, both internal and external. There is the sadness of chapters ending and temporary distance from one way of being to another. There is the anxiety of preparation and the making ready and not yet. The ongoing process of becoming is sometimes painful. So I want to give thanks for Mary, my mother, all mothers, parents and loving friends and family who keep pressing us, encouraging and prodding us to do our best and to step forward. Rejoice with me today in all the people that have helped you to realize God's love and call in your life and who have stood by and encouraged by saying, "do what they say." Being trusted with capacity when one feels not yet capable is a wonderful gift. May we rejoice that God has given us mentors, families and friends who help usher us into the next stage of life with love.

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