I don’t know about you, but when I like to have something cold to drink, I like a stone cold diet Pepsi. And If it is at all possible, I prefer it to be from Newfoundland. You might think me foolish for saying such a thing but there it is. I like a stone cold Newfoundland diet Pepsi. I say that because of had Pepsi in our places in Canada and in other parts of the world. In fact I can remember being served a Pepsi in Moscow a number of years back and thinking it was the most awful substance on the face of the earth. Not because it was diet nor because it was made in a different country but because it was, of all things, warm. It was tepid. It was in a word, awful. It was nasty, thick and well, yuck!
We need to keep in mind that when we hear the steward of wedding banquet congratulate the groom on his willingness to keep providing the best, even at the late stages of an evening, the groom was unaware of the plan. He didn't know what Mary and Jesus had talked about. He did know what Jesus had the household servants do. he was in the dark, so to speak. He was expecting the complaint that the wine was of a pro quality and that it was a good thing that everyone else was well supplied for the moment. They weren't going to care what they were drinking at 2am when all the rest was gone.
But why did Jesus do this first sign? – it is not a miracle but, as John would have it a sign. It was an epiphany for those who were watching and wondering what would happen next. The servants did a Jesus asked and the disciples came and watched. Then servants took the water now wine to the Steward and the Steward went to the Groom with high praise for the amounts of generosity to his guests. Jesus showed us that first that God is willing to provide the needs of his people, his Church. More importantly they saw that not only would God step in, but that God would provide in such a way that others would be blessed in the giving. And God can give gifts like that, then how should we as his people, his Church respond to such generosity and such giving? The Gospel’s response? Come and see.
There is a simple implication that if there is no wine, then there is no blessing. And without blessing there is no life. The wine is far more than just an excellent compliment to a great meal. It is a symbol of the circle of life and what happens when we have drank the dregs of the barrel. The wine is a symbol of the harvest: a symbol of God’s abundance for the life of a family and a nation that he calls his own. Providing the wine and the blessing allows not only for life to continue, but also the ongoing opportunity to discover more and more about the grace, the mercy and the life that God offers in the life of his one and only Son.
Life without Christ is to invite death while choosing to trust Christ and to be willing to die with him through baptism and possible with your own death is to move into eternal life with him and for him.
So the question clearly is: If you cannot put new wine in to old wine skins, how will God put his Holy Spirit into old Anglicans? I don’t know how he will do it and I don’t know what the church will look like, but why don’t you come and join me. It will be fun to sit back with an icy cold Pepsi and watch as God moves fills his people with his Spirit and see what happens next!