Grace and Peace to you.
I’m thinking about water being changed to wine, the ordinary transformed into the glorious. I’m thinking about blessing, abundantly overflowing. I’m surrounded by it. Heaven spills out into this world. I’m exulting in this good news: my sister’s lymphoma is in remission. Her chemo goes on, but not the disease. I feel like the host at the wedding in Cana. How am I going to spend all this joy?
While I drink from these vats of gratitude, I also think about people I know who are not celebrating, who are looking for work, whose kids are struggling with addiction, who are beginning chemo without any assurance, who are facing the loss of loved ones. I’m rejoicing for my baby sister, but my wife’s baby sister just died. How can I dance for my sister while there’s so much suffering in the world? But how can I not dance for my sister? So I can feel like an awkward guest at the wedding. Why doesn’t everybody get the wine?
Well, everybody does. My sister’s healing is not a special order, but a glimpse of the natural order, the heart of the world. The “wine” is not that we get what we want, but the wondrous, mysterious glory of life. Everything is miraculous. God has turned the water of my sister-in-law’s life to wine no less than my sister’s. God’s grace is not in certain places, but at the heart of reality. The whole world’s water is changed to wine. The glory of God is hidden in all things.
The man who changed water into wine knew suffering. He never promised to excuse anyone from it, but changed it by sharing it with us on behalf of God. God is in every person and every moment and every life, and what we think is ordinary water is heavenly wine, and what we fear is not enough is more than enough. The wine may be relief of suffering or grace to endure it, but there will be enough of it. Sometimes we know it; most of the time we haven’t tasted it yet.
All of life is God’s wedding to us. Happiness comes and goes with certain gifts and losses, but nothing diminishes the joy of life, the wonder of this beautiful, painful, holy life, the grace of being alive. Every moment of this life is wine miraculously made from ordinary water, abundantly provided in love, consecrated for a holy sacrament. Drink it, and dance.
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