Greetings on this beautiful but very cold day! It was -6* when I was sitting in my chair doing my devotions this morning. Brrrrr. I wrote in my journal I am grateful for heat and a roof over my head and the sun shining on the glittery snow. Oh, but the cold air makes my nose and my fingertips burn. We are getting ready for our annual meetings and potlucks. The annual reports are ready for your perusal. Please make sure to attend. Your presence matters, your vote matters.Trinity: worship at 11:15, annual meeting following and then pot luck. Bring your favorite dish to pass: Sunday, January 27thBethany: worship at 9:15, annual meeting following and then pot luck luncheon. Bring your favorite dish to pass: Sunday, February 3rd. We are in the process of updating our Trinity directory and calendar so if you have had a change of address or phone number, please let me know. We will be passing out the new directories and calendars at our annual meeting. This morning we had such fun working together to create beautiful quilts that will help various ministries in the community. Together, we cut the squares, lay out the patterns for the quilt top, sew the squares together, sandwich the quilt top with the batting and back, tie the quilt and put on a label. We all ask one another "does this look good?" then we switch around a few squares, re-assess and go on to the next one. Mid-morning we gather around the table for a cup of tea and some goodies that someone has brought to share. Today, I brought banana, nut, chocolate chip muffins, and no one complained that they were a bit over done. Together we share our stories, support one another, laugh and sometimes cry together. But most of all, we are grateful for the ministry of the church that allows us to share with others these beautiful quilts that are made with love and prayer. I give thanks to God for this beautiful group of women who gather together faithfully every week. Here's this week's "Daily Discipleship" for your bible study on the gospel lesson.Enjoy your time digging deeper into the WORD of God.
Second Sunday after Epiphany (C) – John 2:1-11
Imperatives of Discipleship – Believe!
Focus Question: What gives you strength as you believe in Christ?
word of life
“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana in Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11 (NRSV)
Read John 2:1-11
Scholars of the Gospel of John often speak of the many layers or levels of meaning in its verses; and this story of the wedding in Cana in Galilee is no exception. Many of the words and details are laden with symbolic meaning which the faith community would hear and understand:
“on the third day” (vs.1) – The resurrection of Jesus came on the beginning of the third day after the cross.“my hour has not yet come” (vs. 4) – Jesus’ “hour” in John is his suffering and death on the cross.“six stone water jars” (vs. 6) – The number six indicates incompleteness. The stone jars were used for the Jewish rites of purification; yet the contents of the jar were incomplete and inadequate for the occasion. The new wine from Jesus is the choice wine – suggesting that the new revelation of God in Jesus is the fullness of God’s revelation.the wedding feast – The wedding feast is used many times in the Old and New Testament as a symbol of the kingdom of God, and the relationship of bride and bridegroom is used as a description of the relationship of God to God’s people. (See Isaiah 62:1-5)
What is the significance of the use of symbolism in the gospels? In what way is this helpful? Or is it confusing?
The final verse of this lesson indicates that this miracle was first of Jesus’ signs and “revealed his glory” (vs. 11). The Gospel of John has a series of seven signs – the number symbolic of completeness and wholeness. The “signs” or miracles of Jesus’ ministry all point to Jesus and his identity as God’s promised One. They serve to reveal the identity of Jesus to those who witness these events.
In this season of Epiphany, the Church of God looks for the ways God is revealed in the world. Just as the star of Bethlehem led the Wise Men to the Christ-child and the voice was heard at Jesus’ baptism proclaiming Jesus as God’s Son with whom God is well-pleased, so the signs in John’s Gospel point to Jesus. They are written and revealed in order to lead to faith. God’s glory is revealed in mystery. The story of the changing of water into wine at Cana concludes with the good news: “and his disciples believed in him” (vs. 11). Everything in the story – the empty jars, the miraculous transformation of water into wine, the hints of Jesus’ “hour”, the context of a wedding feast – all are included to elicit faith and to reveal Jesus as the promised Messiah.
How do we experience God’s revelation today?Which of the following phrases rings true:
“seeing is believing” or “believing is seeing”?
How does a person come to faith? How did you come to believe in Jesus?
word among us
The students and the teacher in the class were frustrated. The teacher had tried several different teaching methods to explain the important geometric formula but without success. The students did not understand the concept.
So the teacher had an idea. She asked the class to gather around her desk. “Watch closely,” she said as she took three wooden blocks, formed them into a right-angled triangle, and measured each side. Then she took three other blocks of different lengths and did the same exercise, measuring the lengths of the sides of the second triangle. She moved over to the blackboard and wrote the formula once again, this time with the measurements of the two triangles.
It was as if a light had been turned on in the darkness of incomprehension. “Now I get it!” one of the students exclaimed. Experience led to comprehension. Seeing led to believing.
1. Share other examples where seeing leads to understanding.
2. How is this true in our faith lives as well?
3. What does the expression “blind faith” mean?
“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.” These familiar words from the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” capture the message of Epiphany. Epiphany is a time to look for God’s presence. It is a time to lift up the experiences of God that lead to and deepen faith. It is a time for light to shine in the darkness of unbelief and incomprehension. It is a time of transformation.
4. Where or when do you see and experience God’s presence?
5. How might we look for God’s presence during the coming week?
6. What does the hymn “Amazing Grace” mean to you?
The story of the miraculous changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana in Galilee is an “Epiphany story.” And like most experiences of God’s presence in our lives, there is an element of mystery in the experience. We don’t know how Jesus turned water into wine. We don’t know how a cross can be a sign of life, how dying can lead to rising, how Jesus can be truly God and truly human, how Christ can be truly present in a morsel of bread and a sip from a cup, or how a motley group of sinners can be the body of Christ.
We can’t fully comprehend. But we see; and in seeing, we believe.
7. What do you have trouble believing about Jesus Christ?
8. When has it all made sense to you?
9. What do you say to someone who has questions or doubts about their faith in Jesus Christ?
O God of light, shine in the darkness of our world. Open our eyes to see your presence in our lives. Amen
Look this week
for signs of God’s presence in your life.
Blessings on your week. Hope to see you in church.