A Lesson from the Wedding at Cana
Head Storeroom cha? Why me? Not exactly the role I see myself in, I thought as I pondered the invitation to serve. And then came the more practical considerations: Coffee prep is not one of my gifts, and this job description does not fit me much. Naturally I said yes to the rector, but in truth my attitude needed a bit of fine-tuning. God knew that I needed to fly 2000 miles to get it adjusted. (And let’s throw in a giant dose of Southern hospitality as a bonus.)
Just prior to our women’s weekend last March, I attended the International Tres Dias meeting hosted by the Middle Tennessee community. To kickstart the event, the pastor of the College Heights Baptist Church in Gallatin shared a devotion, using John 2:3-5. I’ve read this story about the wedding at Cana many times, but never in such a revealing light.
When the party ran out of wine, Jesus’ mother Mary stepped in to address the situation and told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus then instructed them; fill those nearby stone jars with water. What a shock for the banquet manager when he saw that Jesus had turned ordinary water into delicious wine for the guests.
The pastor asked us to consider what the servants might have been thinking as they went to work on the request. Did they think it strange, as those jugs were generally used for ceremonial washing? Did they roll their eyes and wonder what the Lord was thinking? We don’t know. But we do know this; despite being clueless as to the outcome, the servants did as they were asked.
There’s a lesson in this story for all us.
Just like a wedding, there are countless details involved in putting on a Tres Dias weekend. Running out of wine at the wedding wasn’t a world crisis back then, but Jesus used it to reveal truths about himself, that he is eager to be part of all the details in our events, that we can trust him and not panic.
But I’ve never looked at that scripture from the servant’s standpoint, that their obedience brought unexpected blessings.
When serving on the team, we might be asked to do something we consider totally inconsequential. We might question wisdom or the why of it. But I’m reminded by that message in Tennessee is that every role–from rector and spiritual director to coffee maker and trash emptier–is important to the weekend success. The challenge from the pastor to pescadores that day: “Will you be faithful to carry the jars?
I arrived at the campground the following Thursday afternoon with a transformed outlook on serving. It’s not about being skilled at making coffee or anything else. It’s about being willing be like those servants at the wedding who waited tables and filled jars without question. They became an integral part of the miracle that changed hearts and lives for eternity.
Jan Coleman is a member of Northern California Tres Dias.