Redeemer Ev. Lutheran Church, Iola, WI

Sermons, Devotions, and News from Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iola, WI

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Feasting with God #8 – The Wedding at Cana

Feasting with God #8

The Wedding at Cana

John 2:6-11

6Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”  And they filled them up to the brim.  8And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.”  So they took it.  9When 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 10and 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.”  11This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.  And his disciples believed in him.

Wedding receptions are meant to be joyful events.  The feasting and the drinking of wine are all intended to honor the estate of marriage, and specifically to commemorate the joy of the now-wedded couple as they enter into their new life together.  It would have been rather awkward, therefore, at this wedding in Cana, if the wine ran out at an inopportune time.  No, the bride and groom wouldn’t have been driven out of town for failing to supply adequate wine, but they definitely would have felt embarrassed, and been viewed in an embarrassing perspective by the guests.  When Mary initially came to Jesus, she had the comfort and well-being of the happy couple in mind.

And Jesus, too, had sympathy on them.  Really, this is the point of this miracle.  Throughout his ministry on earth Jesus had sympathy on those in need.  He felt what they felt, and he yearned to make them better.  This miracle, being “the first of his signs,” was where he began to show the public who he was, what power he had, and for what purpose he had come.  From here on out, Jesus’ sphere of influence really began to radiate outward into a wider and wider circle, but for now, his blessings came upon a simple family, a newly wedded couple.

John takes note first of all of the immense quantity of wine that was made: “six stone water jars… each holding twenty or thirty gallons each holding twenty or thirty gallons.”  Then, he also notes the remarkable quality of that wine created by Jesus: “You have kept the good wine until now.”  This was a very fine wedding gift granted by Jesus to the happy couple.  And it foreshadows the rest of what he would accomplish here on earth.  Jesus’ work was the salvation of mankind; in other words, Jesus came to transform the plain and grimy nature of man into the holy and glorious forms made in his image; he came to take what was base and unworthy of consideration and turn it into something noble.  This he did with the water used for ceremonial washing, turning it into wine, and this he did with our sinful human natures, turning them into his own righteousness.

It has been said that Jesus joins us in all our sorrows, all our joys, all our temptations (cf. Hebr. 4:15).  At this wedding he sought to join in the joy, and to enhance it.  He came into this world to increase our joy.  What joy can be greater than that of the knowledge of our salvation, won for us by the one who lived a perfection we could never reach and then died to take the punishment meant for us?  This miracle is called by St. John a “sign,” and what it signifies is both the divine power of Jesus as god, and the great delight he takes in lending a helping hand to his fellow man.

Dear Lord, you have suffered as we have suffered, and you have rejoiced as we have rejoiced.  But never let us lose sight of the great joy we have since you have won for us the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation from a wicked world.  Let us look on this your first miracle as a sign of your divine omnipotence and so find we can trust in you, and also as an indication of your great love for us, so that we can come with confidence to you in prayer for all our needs.  In your blessed name we pray.  Amen.

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Building Project, Phase I, Part 2

Happy Reformation Day, everyone!

A lot has happened over the last couple of days, and the inside of our church looks a lot different.

We found the need to venture into the sanctuary half of the church yesterday, even though that technically was to be part of Phase II.  While working on Phase I proper, however, the ceiling over the sanctuary was noticeably sagging.  Rather than leave that safety hazard, therefore, our members dove in and started to remove the ceiling.  We started by tearing out the drywall ceiling and the insulation.

Tearing Down the Drywall Ceiling

 

Rick and Jon said they felt like Godzilla breaking that all down.  It was really like watching Cookie Monster at work, getting into a giant cookie over his head.

Half of the drywall was taken down, and, once most of the debris was out of the way, it was time to start cutting into the steel.  You see, our church was originally constructed by putting two trailers together, so the outside walls and roofs are still largely intact.  But in the interests of higher ceilings, the steel had to go.  It came out in sections.

Cutting the Steel

First Cut

Cutting the Steel

Then Collapse

It was an interesting sight, and sparks were flying.

Sparks Flying

 

Three sections were broken down yesterday.  And during that endeavor, Jon couldn’t help but show a feat of strength.

Jon's Feat of Strength

Hulk Smash

This is what we left the sanctuary looking like last night:

Sanctuary with Collapsed Ceiling

View Looking Towards the Chancel Area

In one sense, it’s a little disheartening to see a place of worship come to look so ruinous.  Although by Sunday it will not look so messy, it will be different, and possibly a little uncomfortable.  But this project is a good thing by and large.  Our sanctuary will eventually be more open, warmer, and lending itself more fully to edification in the Spirit.  It is important as we continue forward, too, to be grateful for the work that went into this building originally.  For years this church has served as the worship space for Redeemer Lutheran Church, and without the space from which to build on, we would not have the opportunity now to improve our church.  Ever looking forward to that end product, we can’t help but marvel in the supportive and hard-working congregation we have.  Praise God for giving us these gifts!

The Story of Rick’s Nail

Rick's Nail

Rick’s Nail

One of the first things Rick did a few days ago was cut through a wall to open up a wider entryway.  It was smooth sailing for most of the work, but midway down the wall the saw suddenly was giving him difficulties.  Pushing through the sweat and the ache, Rick continued to cut, thinking, “If all the cutting is this difficult, we’ll never get this project done!”  But he persevered, cutting millimeter after millimeter, seeming to get nowhere.  Finally, he broke through and cut out the rest of the wall.  When he looked to see what had given him such trouble, he found that he had cut straight down through a nail.  As you can tell from the picture, it’s a pretty remarkable sight.  I think, if we can cut through something as tough as nails, we can get this whole project done with nothing but blessings!

Redeemer Report 1.2 (October 2014)

Read the Church Newsletter Oct 2014 here!

Redeemer Report 1.1 (September 2014)

Read the Church Newsletter Sept 2014 here!