Friday, August 6, 2010

Empty Jars

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” John 2:6-10

Creativity is a gift from the Creator and miracles often happen when the jars are empty. It is a paradox of faith and life that when we are emptied, whether by our own doing or by circumstance, creative ways through the desert spring up. And when we are full our brains and bodies are not open to the movement of God's love in our lives. When we were children, my grandmother went with us to a Chinese restaurant, which was totally out of her familiar territory. She actually did well with the food and seemed to enjoy the whole experience. When the fortune cookies came around, hers read " a full belly makes a dull brain." We all laughed with enjoyment and that silliness that comes with being well fed. She thought the restaurant was insulting her. It is most often our emptiness and our need which makes us open to God's love and to new direction. When we are full we can hide behind our defenses.

Jesus is attending a wedding of a close family member. He might have been reluctant to be there - we can never know. What we do know from the Gospel today is that there was a need, and there were empty jars to be filled. The miracle of water into wine begins his visible ministry, where God's love working through him changing emptiness into fullness and failure into honor. God's miracles are always about filling the empty, using the ones who are standing by, empty and drained, for the restoration of the whole community.

Today, I want to rejoice in the times of being empty and drained understanding that it is in these times when God's love makes miracles happen through us, the empty vessels. May we rejoice, full or empty, knowing God is working through us for the restoration of the whole community.

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