Jesus: I told you this was going to be a lame party. I totally didn’t want to come.
Mary: Yes, well, I thought there might be some nice girls here…
Jesus: ANYway…I guess somebody’s going to have to make a run.
Mary: Yes, I suppose. Unless…well, you know. You could do some party tricks.
Jesus: Woman! And of course, I mean “woman” in the most sincere and respectful tone, and not at all the the perjorative sense that is meant to silence you… I say, Woman! I couldn’t possibly. It is not yet my time. The world is not ready for me.
Joseph: Don’t talk to your mother that way. And anyway, it would be really cool. Why don’t you just do what she says?
Jesus: You’re not my real dad!
But of course…Jesus does it anyway. He turns a lame wedding with ill-prepared hosts into the greatest party of all time. He transforms the water into a surplus of wine, and the celebration lasts well into the night.
Some say that Jesus is foreshadowing the cross here, the promise of eternal life–that which never runs dry. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe he loved a good party. Or maybe he really loved his mama.
Or maybe Jesus knew that the real miracle was love itself. Signified in the holy vows of matrimony, or in a thousand other ways that imperfect people show up to love each other every day. Maybe Jesus knew that in a dark and broken and messed up world, people who still seek the salvation of human connection are brave enough and bold enough to deserve something spectacular. Maybe he knew that in a world of terrorism and Donald Trump and reality t.v., we could all use a little more of the magic of the wedding feast.
Truth is, it is miraculous that people still get married. It is a miracle when people still bring children into the world, and raise them to be compassionate voices in the world. It is a sign and a wonder, in this age of isolation and autonomy, that some people still want to know their neighbors and serve the poor. It is a great in-breaking of the spirit when people still talk of peace like it’s a living promise for our time and place.
Love, in its many expressions, sustains us and compels us to hope. It is essential and life-giving and overcomes even the lamest rituals that we might try to put around it. It keeps us joyful against all odds, dancing and singing well into the night.
Likewise, it is the essence of grace and good news that drives us back church, when every trend says we are dying; when every public opinion survey says that our tradition is ‘irrelevant,’ ‘judgmental,’ ‘hypocritical,’ perhaps even ‘lame.” We continue to believe in the miracle of grace and community because, around our table, the cup is never dry.
Love is the miracle, and it keeps us coming back for more. Jesus knew this. Maybe that’s why he strapped on his best sandals, rolled his eyes a little, and–just this once, to make her happy–went to a lame wedding with his mama.