What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in public? We have
all got stories from our lives, I'm sure. I was reading a story recently about a
newly ordained priest being invited by the Archdeacon for dinner. As you can imagine
a bit of a posh occasion. The priest, naturally was on his best behaviour. When people
were invited to be seated at the table, the priest commented on the quality of the
dining chair upon which he was sitting. The Archdeacon said yes, it was one of his
prized possessions: a chair from the Georgian period that had been handed down through
the generations of his family. So, the dinner is in full flow, all going well, and
the priest making a good impression so far. However, the Archdeacon tells a funny
joke and as the priest leaned back in the chair, laughing hard and...... you have
guessed it..... the back of the chair splintered into pieces and the priest ended
up on the floor with the remains of this precious family heirloom balanced across
his legs. He wasn't invited back again....I wonder why?
Public embarrassments are awful things.
The reading from St. John's Gospel about a wedding at Cana in Galilee, is a story
about a major social embarrassment and about how Jesus saves the day. Here the hosts
had run out of wine and Jesus intervenes to help them out, which is the first of
his miracles. What this intervention tells us about God is that he really cares about
what happens in our lives. God is not some remote, distant Being, sitting above the
clouds. Instead, God is actively involved in the world and he wants to be actively
involved in your life and mine.
Since I became a vicar 33 years ago, I have conducted many weddings. I rarely go
to the Wedding Reception afterwards unless I really know the couple very well. If
I do go, it always make me smile when I walk into the dining room in my suit and
dog collar and see everyone sitting down at their allotted table. I start to look
around for my name on the card marking where I am to sit. You can almost see the
frozen smiles on people's faces as they look up at me walking around the tables.
Their faces portray a welcoming smile but you can almost hear them screaming out,
“Please don't let the vicar sit next to me”. They want to have a few drinks – or
more – and laugh at a few saucy jokes. What could be worse than the vicar sitting
down next to them? The worst type of Wedding Nightmare!!
To some people vicars are a breed, maybe Christians in general too because they are
often viewed by many people as killjoys; not the type of person that you would invite
to a party.
It is interesting that Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding in our
story from St. John's Gospel. There was something about him that people felt comfortable
with and they weren't afraid to have him at their party where the wine was flowing
Jesus wants to be part of our lives, but how do we view him? Do we think of Jesus
as a killjoy? Does the thought of being in a relationship with Jesus take the fun
out of our lives. Do we keep him in a little 'Sunday Box', where we can be all religious
in church but then pack him away for the rest of the week so we can have our fun
without him being involved? This may be the killjoy image of Jesus that we have created
in our minds. If so, we are worshipping the wrong Jesus because the Jesus of the
Bible gets invited to the party and people know that he is fun to have around.
The Wedding at Cana in Galilee is a fascinating story that is about so much more
than just a miracle of changing water into wine. It teaches us how we can relate
to Jesus in our everyday lives from Monday to Saturday.
Maybe we need to start thinking about Jesus in a fresh way so that the real Jesus
– the Jesus of the Bible can be fully active in our lives, leading us into the future
of joy and happiness that we all long for.
Holy Father, Creator of all things,
whose blessed Son turned the water into wine,
grant that he may come to us and change us,
and so transform our lives that in us
your glory may be revealed;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Canon Dave 23rd January 2021
Canon Dave’s Weekly Message
For the last few weeks it has been amazing to see the snowdrops beginning to bloom
in our gardens. A sign of new life, new hope and that Spring is on the way. Although
the snowdrops may all look the same unless you look closely, there are in fact 75
different varieties. This is a miracle of God's creation – a miracle given for us
As I drive through Chatsworth Park between the two churches at Beeley and Edensor
again I witness God's creation – the variety of trees and their leaves changing colour
during the different seasons, the sheep and deer grazing happily away in the fields.
Let us never take these wonderful sights for granted but thank God for them everyday.