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What concern is that to me? Wedding at Cana

Preached: January 20, 2013
John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’

To run out of wine would have been an embarrassing problem to have. Mary doesn’t ask for anything specific, but the “Do something about it” seems to be implied. Maybe Mary wants to show her son off or OR when Jesus and his disciples were invited, there were too many of them and they drank too much of the wine that was offered. OR maybe Mary does not watch the groom and his bride be disgraced; she does not want their marriage celebration to leave a lasting shame as its memory.

Judging by his response, he appears annoyed. “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” Depending on the translation you read:
That’s not our problem. Why do you come to me? How does that concern us?
What does that have to do with us? Don’t get me involved in this!

We don’t know why Jesus utters these words, what his rationale was, but these are not foreign words to any of us – whether we speak them in our out loud voices or not.

Of what concern is that to me? We don’t speak up or get involved because:
Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt

  1. We don’t have all the information to make an informed decision
  2. We feel powerless to effect any change
  3. We fear how we might be perceived by neighbors/family
  4. it takes too much energy
  5. we may be pulled in beyond our comfort zone
  6. it’s beyond our comfort zone to begin with
  7. we don’t know where to start
  8. it won’t do any good anyway
  9. it’s downright depressing to think of all the things that need to be fixed
  10. I’m not on that committee – don’t want to triangle

In the very next verse, Mary tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” The servants listen to Jesus, fill the jars with water, and take a sample to the steward who proclaims it is wine, better even than what was served early on. Whether he worked this miracle to obey his mother, or whether he planned it all along—we have no idea. This was the first miracle Jesus performed. Ultimately, Jesus spoke and Jesus acted.

It continues to be a tension, a dilemma for us, doesn’t it- when to speak and when to act.

As we celebrate and honor the memory and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we also remember that the justice of God cannot be silenced. Isaiah 62 shares God’s call for justice for the people of Jerusalem, who are returning after exile. They shall not only return, but be restored.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.

One of the dominant themes of the OT & the prophet Isaiah’s writing is liberation from captivity. We are reminded that God’s redemption is for all, but most especially for the poor, the oppressed, the vulnerable, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, for all those living at the margins. God desires justice in this world, not only salvation in the next. Liberation in the Old Testament and from Mary’s Magnificat from Luke 1 promises that those who benefit from injustice will lose their power. So this weekend we remember that Dr. King did not bow down to the voices that wanted to silence him, nor did he hide with the threat of death. Dr. King stands in the legacy of Old Testament prophets, incapable of holding back the voice of justice from God.

Sophia Agtarap – minister of online engagement with UM Commnications:

“Our silence doesn’t let us off the hook. If we don’t speak, the problems that plague our community, our world and our church will not go away, for we are called to be the bearers of God’s justice and mercy, not those who settle for what’s convenient. And when we are working for justice, it will almost always seem inconvenient. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote: Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people.”

Jesus ended up clashing with the Roman authorities and the Jewish elites, who considered him a threat to their political authority. Jesus, who professed salvation, peace, love and compassion could not extricate himself from politics.
Episcopalian Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: “Jesus was deeply concerned with political processes in his own day, challenging people around him as well as the Roman and religious governments about injustice, violence, and exploitation. Our task as Christians is always to explore how the political processes and decisions before us can help or hinder the coming of the Reign of God in our midst. Does a tax proposal seem to care for ‘the least of these’? Does a policy decision mean greater justice for the ‘little ones’? Does one candidate seem to have a greater interest than another in the primary issues of justice that Jesus spoke most about? And while people of good faith may come to different conclusions about any such question, the quality of the dialogue and the way it is conducted must also be taken into account.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. MLK, Jr.
We dare not be silent for the sake of a place of Peace. There is so much unrest and wrong. Silence is a catalyst that amplifies the wrong.

Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out b/c I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out b/c I wasn’t a unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

780 million people who do not have access to clean water; 27 million in modern day slavery; 12 million adults/children in forced labor in agriculture, factories; Gun violence

In the midst of brokenness and war and hunger and violence, God is near. God will not keep silent; God will not relent. God will not rest until all God’s people have found a sense of belonging and their hope restored. And God has no other voice than ours.