For those who weren't there Weds 17th:
It seems Christmas is so hurried these days… Advent is oft forgotten behind cardboard calendars and cards, the wise men and shepherds yanked toward the stable right at the point of birth…
Actually, the season runs for longer: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany. So the crib isn’t meant to leave the church til early Feb. Beyond the tinsel and wise men and shepherds, one of the traditional readings around this time is the story of Jesus at the wedding in Cana…
It’s only in John, so we can’t really see where it might fit into any time-line, but it’s set as a precursor to Jesus’ proper ministry. His time hasn’t yet come.
But try telling that to mothers, eh? So with a sigh and a raised eyebrow to his disciples, he goes off and tells the servers to fill the purification jars with water… Around 150 gallons, which turns to the best wine. John’s recollection fails a little after this – unsurprisingly – but he does describe the disciples’ awe: this was a ‘sign’.
It’s a strange miracle really – so immediate and over-abundant. More like magic. The healings you could understand… but why make so much wine? What are we to make of a messiah who resists jumping from the Temple, but will completely go over the top on this?
Some have talked about the creation of history – the compression of time that allowed Jesus to accelerate a natural process of aging into a split second – and argued this is why creationism must be true: he could create ‘old rocks’.
But on the evidence, Jesus wasn’t that fond of speedy miracles, and tried to keep the ones he did hushed up. It’s the slow miracles that are often overlooked, but really make the difference. The wine would soon be used and forgotten, the storm quickly followed by another that wasn’t calmed. But the years it took to abolish slavery, the ages dedication of Theresa or Gandhi. These are the slow miracles that really make a difference. Miracles done at walking pace.
Epiphany is just such a walking pace miracle: the shepherds ambling down, the wise astrologers coming by sometime. Not at the birth. But some time later.
One thing I’ve wondered about doing is thinking about our back-stories – about the people who have formed us and shaped us. And I wonder if these are good examples of slow miracles. Jeremy’s dad – nothing over the top or wow-factor. But slow dedication.
And I wonder: what slow miracles we might get involved in, or already are. Is this group one of them?
A time of silence was kept.
And broken with Jeremy's Listening liturgy (link to Open Office entry coming)
Thanks to Martin Wroe for inspiring some of these thoughts.