Keep it Reel: Kung Fu Panda 2

The Dragon Warrior is back, and now he has respect from his peers and fans flocking to the noodle bar; however something is troubling Po.

Po doesn’t know who he is. Finally he has to face up to the fact that he is adopted, but the question of where he comes from and where he belongs is robbing him of his inner peace.

Po has been raised to believe that his destiny lies with noodles, but in the first film he is identified as the Dragon Warrior. In his training he had to do battle with his physique, his strength and stamina and win the respect of his fellow warriors, now it is time to do battle with all that is within him. Now it is time to search for his inner peace.

In doing so, Po discovers three things: He uncovers his earliest memory and learns of his beginnings as a refugee, hidden from a power crazy ruler, just as Moses was hidden from Pharaoh and Jesus from Herod, and he discovers that the sacrifices his parents made for his safety allowed him to survive and grow to be saviours.

He also discovers that he has the power to forgive and to be set free by doing so. It is only in revisiting his past and releasing it that he can truly find inner peace.

And he learns who he, he is his father’s beloved son.

Ahead of Jesus embarking on this three year ministry that will eventually lead him to the cross, there is a moment when he is reminded of who he truly is. Jesus is baptised by John and as he comes up out of the baptism waters the Holy Spirit like a dove, the symbol of peace, lands upon him and his Father yells from the heavens, ‘You are my Son, I love you.’

If we seek inner peace we also have to find a place where we can hear those words of God’s, ‘I love you,  you belong to me, I am proud of you’.

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Read Mark and Inwardly Digest: The Baptism

As Jesus is baptised one of those Epiphany moments happen. The skies are torn apart, a voice declares that this is my Son and that he is much loved, and the Holy Spirit like a dove descends upon him. Read it here.

Those words are the same as the words we heard in last week’s passage from Mark, but they come from a different place in the gospel, and at a different time in Jesus’ ministry. Last week we were in the centre of the gospel and this week we are back at the beginning – the lectionary does like to jump about a bit!

Last week  the disciples, or at least 3 of them, were enveloped into this special Father – Son moment, today’s passage seems to be intended only for Jesus, or at least according to Mark’s interpretation, Matthew and John have a more open portrayal. In Mark as we focus upon Jesus’ experience of this Trinitarian moment our attention is drawn to the fact that Jesus is shortly to embark upon his life’s ministry. Before he does so though, he is to do battle with Satan, and in order to be made ready, the other 2 persons of the holy Trinity surround him with love and affirmation. There are other future echoes of the Transfiguration present in this scene, notably the prophet John, mistaken often to be Elijah himself, the one who is to come before the Messiah, but these are two separate events.

Here Jesus takes himself into the waters of death, the death that sin brings, jut as it did in Genesis and the flood that covered the whole world. Willingly he steps into that place that he has no need to visit: Jesus has not sinned, has not allowed anything to get between him and his Father, despite the humanity he wears; and yet he goes through this ritual of purification, he takes on board the teaching of John the baptist, to repent, both in his own baptism and in his teaching which is shortly to begin. This is also a foretaste of the ultimate identification with sin which will lead to his death upon the cross.

But we are not there yet. First Jesus is to face the accuser, the Satan, the one who argues that ‘the human race has failed and should be destroyed’, (Knowles) just as the flood had once done. Satan first appears in the Book of Job, believed to be the oldest book in the Bible. God allows Satan to test Job as proof of the faithfulness and goodness that can exist even within fallen humanity.

Now Jesus is to take that place as he enters this time of testing in the wilderness. A place where God’s people would often find the space and freedom to meet with him, here Jesus is to face instead temptation. Mark is quite thrifty in his summary of Jesus’ trials . Other gospel writers describe specific ways in which Jesus was tempted and how he fought back. Mark only indicates that the temptation was in depth – the number 40 in Biblical terms means absolute, full, complete…we can read into this meagre description that Jesus was tempted in every way possible, and that he came through: Jesus passed the test with flying colours, except there is no sense of celebration at the end of the 40 days. Certainly no Easter eggs for him.

This is also a foretaste of all that is to come. Jesus is baptised as a human, a baptism of repentance, he then faces trials and temptations in the wilderness. These opening exercises in what it is to be human are a form of training for all that is to come, when Jesus will replace the covenant God made with the handful of survivors from that flood, when Jesus’ blood on the cross will speak louder than the rainbow in the sky; when the temptations in the wilderness will be replaced by temptations in the Garden of Gethesemane; when the baptism of repentance will become the baptism of belonging for all who seek to join the ark of Christ’s church.

Something to watch:

Something to do:

Light a baptism candle and read the gospel (Mark 1:9-15) passage out loud. You may also like to read this week’s Old Testament passage from (Genesis 9:8-17)

Something to think about:

  • What memories do you have of your own or a family member’s baptism?
  • Why was the event important?
  • Why do you think so many people came to John to be baptised?
  • Why was it important for Jesus to be baptised – whose benefit was it for?
  • What does it mean to be baptised?
  • What does it mean to repent?
  • Do repentance and baptism have to belong to each other?
  • Could Jesus’ baptism be seen as a new covenant with God, mirroring the flood in Genesis?
  • How do the rainbow and the cross differ from each other?
  • Why do you think Mark is so frugal in his descriptions of both the baptism and temptation of Jesus?
  • How can he words ‘repent and believe in the good news’ resonate for us in our journey through lent?

Something to pray:




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Read Mark and Inwardly Digest: The Transfiguration

One thing that is noted of Mark’s portrayal of Jesus is his humanity. In Mark we see Jesus display the full range of human emotion, but not today, not in this passage which is often referred to as The Transfiguration. Cleverly set amid 3 other stories in which it is confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, this moment in time is all about Jesus’ divinity, or at least it is for Mark. It is full of the numinous, the eschatological, and the apocalyptic, with a little bit of theophany thrown in for good measure! So let’s break it down.

The bare bones of the story are that Jesus gathers his three closest friends, the disciples Peter, James and John and takes them up a mountain to pray. There he is ‘transfigured’, even his clothes become a dazzling white, Elijah and Moses join him, and as they are covered in a cloud, God’s voice can be heard from heaven declaring

This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.

The disciples are overwhelmed and Peter offers to build 3 dwellings for the holy ones, instead they return down the mountain and Jesus tells them to keep their lips buttoned.

The very setting of this moment is ‘numinous’ – it is full of a sense of spirituality of the closeness of God, we might say that it is a ‘thin place’ where the barriers between heaven and earth are no more solid than tissue paper.

Mark tells us that the four climbed a high mountain, this is not just the gentle upward stroll of, say, Danebury Hillfort. This was a known place that reached up to heaven. Mountain tops are also recognised as being places of revelation. Other ancients found themselves close to God when they climbed mountains, including Elijah and Moses who feature in this encounter.

The cloud that overshadows them would also have been recognised as being an indicator of God’s presence. When God spoke with Moses he did so under the cover of a cloud. To see God’s purity and radiance in all its splendour would do more than simply dazzling those present – the cloud is protective. Then of course there is the voice which speaks from the cloud – it is recognisable as God’s voice, and for any who had been present at Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1: 9-11) the words spoken here are an echo of the words spoken three years earlier. Finally of course is the transforming light which turns Jesus’ clothes brighter than white: the Shekina, the divine presence, the glory of the Lord, is upon Jesus, and it reminds us of the pillar of light which guided the Israelites through the wilderness, it reminds us of the glow reflected upon Moses after his mountaintop experience with God, it reminds us of the fire of God’s presence in the Sanctuary. There is no doubting that this is a holy moment.

Even the language Mark uses has a deeper depth that draws us closer to Jesus’ true identity. Transfigured is a term associated with Hellenistic mysteries and appearance with Biblical theophany and vision accounts; and those words of God, they draw us back to the prophecy of Deuteronomy, one of the first five books of the Old Testament, attributed to Moses himself,

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.

And here we enter into the eschatological, the future theology, the ‘end times’. Jesus is the one, like Moses, promised to return at the end of God’s first creation, ready to purge and renew it. Likewise, Jewish people anticipated the return of Elijah to herald the

great and terrible day of the Lord

as promised by the prophet Malachi.

Here on the mountain, Jesus is transfigured, and he is joined by two of the greatest characters from Biblical history, both of whom signify that the time for God to return to walk with his people is here, that God’s judgement, God’s cleansing and re-creation is on its way. No wonder the disciples are overwhelmed. In this ‘theophany’, this  visible manifestation of God, the disciples are anchored in traditional understanding of the Torah, of rabbinical teaching. Moses, the keeper of the law, had his ‘theophany’ atop Mount Sinai, and it is said that he never died, but was taken straight to heaven. Elijah had his moment in the still, quiet voice, but he too was taken up to heaven rather than buried in a cave. This is Jesus’ theophany, and his death will also be pretty spectacular. The vision of Jesus’ transformation has something of the apocalyptic about it, the cloud, the light, the voice from heaven… but it is not to be feared. Indeed instead of wanting to run away, Peter offers to build shelters for these special guests, calling to mind the Jewish festival of Booths, a party that you want to continue long into the night and the day to follow; indeed these camping shelters enabled festival-goers to celebrate for a whole week.

In the Transfiguration, Jesus expresses no emotion, takes no action, and on the mountain speaks no word. Rather, he appears in glory, the passive object of a metamorphosis that reveals his inner nature to his innermost circle of disciples. Here he is pure transcendence of a sort found nowhere else in Mark.

Lamar Williamson Jnr

Something to watch:

as you watch light a candle, if you are watching with a group each light a candle from a central one and focus on the growing candle glow.


Something to do:

In the glow of the candles, read the Bible passage aloud, slowly, reflecting upon the transformations taking place in each of the characters.

Something to think about:

  • Have you had a mountain top experience, or experienced a ‘thin place’?
  • Why do you think Mark surrounds this passage with ‘confessions’ of Jesus as Son of God?
  • Why do you think it was important that Jesus took three disciples with him and why did he choose those three?
  • Peter, James and John each had nicknames: Peter was to become the rock – solid, strong and a good foundation, but he was also known as being impetuous. James and John were known as the sons of thunder and often quibbled about who was the most important. Why do you think God spoke the words he did?
  • Why wasn’t Andrew invited to join his brother and cousins? Do you think it possible that Andrew (formerly a disciple of John the Baptist) had already heard these words at Jesus’ baptism?
  • For whose benefit do you think Moses and Elijah were present – what do they add to our understanding of Jesus’ true identity and purpose?
  • Does this encounter speak to your about Jesus return? Does it feel ‘eschatological’ or ‘apocalyptic’ to you? If so, what specifically makes you think so?
  • How do you imagine Jesus’ return will be?

Something to pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, however much we think we know you, however clearly we believe we have understood your greatness, open our eyes to a deeper awareness, fuller picture and yet more wonderful vision of who and what you are.

Teach us that our minds can only begin to grasp your glory, at best glimpsing part of the truth for there is always more to be revealed, more to learn, more to catch our imagination and thrill our souls.

Grant, then, as we worship you, that your radiance might burst afresh into our loves, so that we might return to the daily routine determined to know, love and serve you better, to the glory of your name. Amen

Nick Fawcett

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Keep it Reel: Astro Boy

Astro Boy is a robot, only he doesn’t know that. He has been designed to replace the scientist’s deceased son. He is built and dressed to look like Toby, and given his memories. In short he is made in the image of the father’s son. Sounds familiar to Christians, we are taught that we are made in the image of God, and when God came to earth he did so as a human baby.

The thing is, Astro Boy may have been made as a replica son, but he isn’t. He has his own identity, and through the course of the film he begins to recognise and understand it, and he begins to discover his inner strength and hidden powers. Inner strength and hidden powers that he is willing to use for the good of others, despite having been rejected and ill treated. Eventually he sacrifices everything in order to save Metro City.

Watching the film led to some rather intense scientific discussion regarding the blue and red core powers. It seems that (if I understand correctly) negative atoms (or was it electrons???) need to take energy from others – hence the ‘Peacemaker’ needing to attract other forms of energy to make and keep him strong. Positive ones however, give out energy to others. This is our challenge in life, do we fill ourselves with negativity which drains others, or positivity which feeds others?

Astro Boy was given his blue core from his Father. We too can be given this source of light and life: we call it the Holy Spirit, Paraclete, Helper, Counsellor – it is the power which enables us to keep close to God even when life is tough and we feel drained. It is the power that lifts us and gives us the strength to carry on, to find hope in lost situations, and to put others first. It’s the power that enables us to be heroes too.

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Being Bearers of Light: Ordinary Time

This Sunday marks the beginning of Ordinary Time. Christmas has come to its completion with Candlemas, the celebrations are over. Perhaps you feel a sense of relief that there is no longer an enforced expectation to be jolly, to keep feasting. Perhaps you long to have everything tidied away and out of sight, perhaps you have come to the point where you can’t bear the sight of Christmas cake any longer; perhaps you relish the ‘ordinary’ things of life – making a cup of tea, the days getting longer, daily routines and simpler food. Or perhaps ordinary is just plain boring.

Ordinary and boring are not the same. For me Ordinary Time reminds me that God is with us all the time, not just high days and holy days, and that there are adventures to be had along the way.

Last week, when we celebrated Candlemas, or the Presentation of Christ in Temple, we were reminded of how in years gone by, the year’s supply of candles would be brought to church to be blessed and to remind us that God Emmanuel, Jesus is with us all the time, even amidst the ordinary, even in the boring.

This week’s Gospel passage reminds us of this too:

In it we are taken right back to creation: In the beginning was the Word. Before the earth had been formed, when there was only darkness and chaos, God existed; and when God spoke, light pierced the darkness, and shape and life began to take form.

This light then came into the world that he had created – not the creations of sun, stars and planets, not the sense of hope and life that can lift our souls even on the bleakest of days, but Light itself, Life itself, God itself.

John writes this beautiful piece of poetry often read at the culmination of carol services, as a prologue to his gospel, and so in these opening verses we are not just taken back to the very beginning, but we are given a whistle stop tour of the whole gospel. We are told about John (the baptist) who was conceived and subsequently born just a few months before the incarnate God, the baby Jesus; and that he would precede Jesus by a few months as prophet and preacher too. There is much excitement and many surprises ahead, but know this, this Jesus is Light, light made flesh and living in our world, but still the ultimate, pure light that will show us the way through the darkest of places. This is the Light that cannot be put out, no matter how hard the enemy will try to do so. In the feasts and festivals this light shines, in the fasting and the sorrow, this light still shines. In the ordinary, this light shines.

We can be reassured by the light, we can bask in this light and love and hope and feel supported and strengthened and secure. However, this light is also a light that challenges. This light illuminates those things we might rather hide, so that we are forced to deal with them. This light leaves no shadows. This light also invites us to share in the light, to share in the hope. This light calls us become bearers of light for others, for those who find themselves in times of darkness so dense that they cannot see even a glimmer of light. Will we respond to the light?

Something to do: Light several candles, and then read out loud the gospel passage from 1 John.

Something to watch:


Something to think about:

  • What is the darkest place you have been?
  • What is the brightest light you have seen?
  • What do you think it means for Jesus to be ‘the light of the World’?
  • What does it mean for us to be bearers of light?
  • Is it possible to hold light for others – how?
  • Is it possible to receive light from Light-bearers?
  • What other words could we use for ‘Light’?

Something to sing:


Something to pray:

Creator God, made known to us in the Word made flesh, revealing your grace and truth through him and bringing light into the darkness of our world, come again to us now and dwell among us through your Spirit.

Breathe life within us – new life born not of the flesh but of you, so that your Word might work within us, speaking to our hearts, illuminating our minds and shining from our lives, to your glory. Amen

Nick Fawcett

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Candlemas: Stepping Stones in Faith

Stepping stones are rather precarious. Yes, they offer a pathway across a stream, but they are often slippery and dry feet are not guaranteed. High water  can rise above them, and even in good conditions the traveller needs to have a good sense of balance.

Today we are given another ‘stepping stone’ in the journey from creation to re-creation: the Presentation of Christ at the Temple (read it here).

Jesus is ‘presented’ at the Temple. This was a common experience for first born Jewish Sons, at only a few days old they would be brought to be ‘presented’, dedicated to God. It follows the example of tithing, returning to God your first portion of the harvest, of your income. It also reverse echoes the Passover when firstborn of all the Egyptian males were sacrificed for the freedom of the Israelites; but there is something more going on here. This isn’t just a ritual celebration of a first born, this is also a cleansing, a purification following the mess and stress of child birth, and all these together hint at the sacrificial, cleansing nature of Jesus’ mission here amongst us.

Today’s triplet of readings provide us with 3 ‘stepping stones’ to help us on our way tounderstanding what is going on here.

The first ‘stepping stone’ comes from our Old Testament reading taken from the Prophet Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, the last book before the gospels. In it Malachi promises that

the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming….

Perhaps this is the prophecy that Simeon had held on to as he watched and waited for the arrival of the Christchild?  Malachi promises that God will enter his Temple, although it seems a great and exciting thing to look forward to, Malachi warns that when he comes it will be to cleanse, to refine, and just as with precious metals, the refining process can be painful.

And now, here he comes, unexpectedly, and inexplicably as a babe in arms, and in a ritual of purification.

For Simeon this isn’t just another stepping stone, this is it. He is old and faithful and has been promised that his faithfulness will lead him into God’s presence and he sings as he recognises in this days-old baby, the fulfilment of the promise made personally to him:

There has been much consternation around the need for Mary to be ‘purified’ after giving birth to the Son of God – surely this is one of the holiest moments in the entire gospel, in the history of God? The reality is that childbirth is messy, but cleanliness with God isn’t simply about avoiding BO and keeping a tidy house.  In this passage we can be reminded of the need to be clean to stand in God’s presence. Shortly after Malachi promises God’s arrival, he warns of the need to be thoroughly cleansed to meet God: to be physically cleansed, to be ritually cleansed and to be spiritually cleansed.

Here Mary goes through the rituals of cleanliness. Other stepping stones to come will point to the need for a deep clean even for those who seem to be clean, ritually at least, but are covering up ingrained filth.

The next stepping stone to come will be Jesus as a 12 year old finding his home at the Temple and amazing the teachers and elders with the depth of his understanding of God’s love. From that it is a hop skip and a jump to Palm Sunday and the cleansing of the Temple and Jesus turning over the tables and driving out the money changers who had polluted the place of prayer.

From there it is only one short step to crucifixion, in itself one of the most physically, ritually and spiritually unclean ways of ending life, and yet through his death on the cross, Jesus provides the sacrificial lamb, becomes himself the sacrifice for the rituals of cleansing for all time; and as a witness to this covenant, the temple curtain which separates people from God is torn in two.

This barrier between  God and humanity was first removed, however, some 30 years earlier when Jesus was born, when he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of an earthly mother. In Mary’s body, heaven and earth were united. In her body she carried all that was ‘clean’ all that had the power to cleanse others.

Our stepping stones have taken us from the promise and warnings of Malachi that God is coming with the power to cleanse, to the birth of Jesus. The presence of Jesus so pure in conception but soiled through birth, provokes the need for Mary to be cleansed, just as Jesus needs to be dedicated to God, despite being himself Emmanuel – God with us. From there we are reminded that Jesus’ purpose in human life was to provide cleansing from all that was rotten in God’s creation, and the only way for that to happen was on the cross.

But this is not the final stepping stone. We are not yet on the other shore, on safe land. We too need to journey into cleanliness, we need to prepare ourselves to be purified, to be refined, because the unexpected arrival of God in his temple isn’t just an event that was foretold and fulfilled, it is still to come.

That final stepping stone will be Jesus’ return. Like his first visitation to the temple it will be unexpected, without notice, and the purpose will be the same: to purify all that has become polluted, in order that God’s world can be recreated and eternity begin in earnest.

Malachi posed a question:

 who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

When Jesus returns will we be ready, as Simeon was ready when Jesus was first carried into the temple? Will we recognise God in our presence? Will we be clean enough to stand before him, not just physically  or even ritually, but spiritually? Wearing our Sunday best will not be enough, having a perfect church attendance card will not swing it either, but cleansing our hearts from all that is bitter and angry and self pitying, might just be the key to a dry landing.

Something to watch:

Something to think about:

  • What activity has made you the muddiest, most dirt encased?
  • How did you need to be made clean again – how long did it take to feel ‘refreshed’?
  • Why do you think Simeon takes such a prominence in this moment of God’s story?
  • Can you think of any other ‘stepping stones’ in the Bible?
  • What ‘stepping stones’ of faith have you experienced?
  • What ‘cleansing’ actions do you think you might need to take in order to take another step forward with God?

Something to do:

Take a time of confession: Say this prayer either alone or in a group and then wash your hands and face (with water if available or using wet wipes), then stand in God’s presence to receive his cleansing absolution:

Forgive us our sins, O Lord; the sins of our present and the sins of our past, the sins of our souls, and the sins of our bodies, the sins which we have done to please ourselves and the sins which we have done to please others. Forgive us our casual sins and our deliberate sins, and those which we have laboured so to hide that we have hidden them even from ourselves. Forgive us, O Lord, forgive us all our sins, for the sake of thy Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Thomas Wilson

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Epiphany 3: They Have No Wine!

Mary, the mother of all mothers is at a wedding, with her son and 12 of his laddish best mates. Eastern wedding celebrations are a big thing. They last for days and much pride is at stake for the parents of the happy couple and the bride and groom themselves. To run out of wine is shameful. Mary is the first of the guests to notice, it would be wrong to suggest that Mary is the one who has the most need of drink at this particular wedding, not the Blessed Virgin Mary, surely! But she does notice and she declares to her son

They have no wine!


Jesus seems unperturbed, he is simply enjoying himself: he is as yet pretty much unknown, no miracles have drawn attention to him, no awkward teaching or confrontations with pharisees and other religious leaders. Jesus is simply Mary and Joseph’s son, the local carpenter – only his parents know of the angel stories that announced the pregnancy that would lead to his birth.

However,  Mary is his mother, and she knows what he is capable of, and has compassion upon the bride and groom hosting the wedding celebrations, and tells him to sort it out. Who knows, perhaps she does need a drink?

Mary also knows that Jesus cannot hide forever, his life is on the brink of something dramatically new and he needs to take that plunge. The first plunge was his baptism and John’s prophetic words about him being the sacrificial lamb. This plunge will point to his blood that will be poured out as part of that sacrifice.

This miracle, Jesus’ first recorded miracle is full of symbolism.

John writes in such a way as to draw attention to all those symbols which will begin to reveal to us Jesus’ true identity and purpose. We first note that this event takes place on the third day. After 3 days, the wine runs out but will be replaced with the best possible wine, an abundance of wine, the most delicious, velvety smooth wine, which, miraculously leaves no bitter aftertaste or hangover (my interpretation). 3 days is also the length of time that Jesus will spend in the tomb separated from life, but after those 3 days he will burst from the tomb full of life and joy more abundant than any he had before.

And then John tells us about Jesus’ reticence – some suggest that he is not willing to perform this first miracle because it is only his mother who has directed him to do so, not his Father to whom he is always obedient. However, I think there are also links here to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering be taken away from him. Jesus didn’t want to be arrested, falsely tried, tortured and murdered – who would? Jesus knew that if he allowed the events to unfurl that night everything would change, there would be no going back. Just like when he changed water into wine and he could never simply be the carpenter again.

The water itself is full of symbolism. There were 6 jars ready for the Jewish rites of purification: 6 is the number closest to 7, and 7 is the number of perfection. The rituals had brought the Jewish people close to God but not close enough: 6 close, but not 7 close. The water had cleansed feet and hands but not hearts. Jesus replaces the water in the jars with wine, wine that will warm the heart. New wine, wine of change and celebration and wedding banquets – here in Cana, but also in heaven. The wine of celebration also brings to mind the wine drunk at that Last Supper, and the blood that would be spilled as Jesus’ side is pierced to prove that he is dead. The blood of a sacrificial lamb. The sacrifice that brings an end to separation from God.

And who are the first people to see and understand? Not the most important guests, but the outsiders. Not the ones partying and celebrating, but the ones working behind the scenes, the ones ignored by the guests, the nobodies. Likewise with God’s kingdom, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Jesus will drink more wine at more parties in the years to come, to such an extent that he will be referred to as a drunkard and a glutton. Amazing and exciting and scary things will happen as those glasses of wine are drunk, and each time a little bit more of Jesus’ true identity will be revealed.

At the wedding, Mary not only got her drink refreshed, but she was given another golden moment to add to her treasure chest, to ponder upon. Those new friends of Jesus who will become known as ‘The Twelve’ (such infamy), have seen who Jesus is – they don’t fully understand yet, but they have seen the impossible, and drunk of his wine, and they believe. A wedding party that was threatened has blossomed into the most talked about wedding party ever. The stewards and the servants have all had a glimpse of Jesus Ben Joseph as Jesus Ben Yahweh – the Son of God.

Read the full story here.

Something to watch:

Something to think about:

  • What is the best drink (outside of communion!) you have ever been given? What made it so?
  • Do you think Mary’s role was necessary?
  • Would any other of Jesus’ miracles have had the same impact as a first miracle?
  • What do you find is revealed to you in this epiphany moment/
  • Is there anything from today’s passage that speaks to you – is there anything you wish to change in your life as a result of this?
  • Are there ways in which our fellowships and churches need to change in response?

Something to read:

But then at weddings there’s always one Bride

a blessed bouquet of nerves and beauty

arranged for love

and its many flowerings

But then at weddings there’s always one Groom

awkwardly practising selflessness

and crossing out

the world’s silly sentences about manhood

For later when they kiss

it is holy

it is God embracing himself

But then at weddings there’s always one

Cheery Uncle

who only drinks twice a year

and shouldn’t

now offering to try on all the ladies’ hats

at once

But then at weddings there’s always one

Confused Cousin

who sits in the wrong place

too embarrassed to move, too shy to stay

but he wrote the card with all his heart

it’s just that the felt tip leaked

But then at weddings there’s always one

Gran in a nice frock

Auntie who likes to waltz

Younger Brother n a slick suit dying for a ciggie

But then at weddings there’s always one

on his own

over in the corner by the jugs of water

no one even knows how he does it

He even gets it to taste like wine

the best wine

the blest wine

But then at weddings there’s always one.             Stewart Henderson

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