Written by Pastor Mark
Today we are talking about feasts! I could go on and on about this subject! I love to eat, and I love to cook for celebrations. We are starting up an exciting new ministry here, or I should say, God is starting up a new exciting ministry here. God is so far out ahead of us on this one it’s sometimes difficult to keep up!
For a long time Courtney and I have dreamed of having some ministry or person who would help to fulfill the vision of the Methodists who built an almost perfect industrial kitchen in their new facility. Someone who knew about feasts created that kitchen. It is a wonderful tool, but it has not been very fully used. That is about to change. It actually started to change two years ago when David and Delia Hammond decided to start up a Saturday morning breakfast. This weekly meal which produces around 200 servings each week has greatly increased the use of the Great Room kitchen. Now we are about to build on that success.
Pete Rahier is a professionally trained chef. Up until recently he was working at a local home improvement store (which was not a good use of his skills.) In early December Courtney and I asked him about the possibility of coming on staff as our kitchen coordinator. We had no money for this position, and no real plan of how we would come up with it. We simply had a dream of more fully using our kitchen and one day offering some kind of jobs training program for people in need of skills and work experience. That last piece of the puzzle is still coming together, but what has happened so far is exciting. As an act of faith Pete quit his job in mid-December and jumped off the cliff! God responded quickly. We soon learned that we had received a grant for $5,000 from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. I’ve now received another $5,000 grant from a private foundation in Lakewood, Washington, half of which will also be matched by Thrivent. We are holding fundraising function on February 16th at the Venue on Highway 99.
In the Gospel lesson for today Jesus performs his first miracle according to John’s version of his life. In the story, Jesus is shamed by his mother into miraculously saving a . . . party? This is the most bizarre miracle of all time. Jesus creates good wine for a group of people who have already had plenty, and just in the nick of time saves a wedding celebration. What kind of a Bible story is this anyway? Who would make up such a thing? (It is not mentioned in any other Gospel, and is not referenced in any of the other books of the New Testament.) I think it says a lot about the writer of John. They obviously thought that celebrations were important. The miracle is not one that takes care of people’s most basic needs, but one that creates incredible abundance to save a party. What a strange and wonderful God we worship. You’d better strap into your seat, because God is about to take us on a wild and wonderful ride!
Quotes for the Week
Forsake not an old friend; for the new is not comparable to him: a new friend is as new wine; when it is old, thou shalt drink it with pleasure.
The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, 9:10
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts. James Beard, Chef
The liturgy, like the feast, exists not to educate, but to seduce people into participating in common activity of the highest order where one is freed to learn things which cannot be taught. Aidan Kavanagh
Mother Nature clearly intended for us to get our food from the “patty” group, which includes hamburgers, fish sticks and McNuggets—foods that have had all of their organs safely removed. Dave Barry
1st Lesson Isaiah 62:1-5 (NRSV)
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. 2 The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. 3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. 5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Gospel Lesson John 2:1-11 (The Message)
Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus’ mother told him, “They’re just about out of wine.”
4 Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”
5 She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”
6-7 Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, “Fill the pots with water.” And they filled them to the brim.
8 “Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host,” Jesus said, and they did.
9-10 When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”
11 This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
Questions for the Week
What is one feast you remember well?
Why is it so memorable?
How might we help people gain skills to help themselves as they immerge from incarceration or from addiction?