It was a clear crisp day.
A nice day for a
Wedding somewhere
on the outskirts
of a town in middle America.

We had been working
hard throughout the day,
friends gathered from
the four winds to
help the couple prepare.

The reception was going
to be beautiful, and the
barn was decorated
in full-on DIY.
Stars hanging from
the ceiling, those big
patio lanterns strung
beam to beam,
candles in mason jars.
Full-on Pinterest-worthy

The food was being catered,
the best Indian food in
town. It was serve-yourself
cafeteria style, which made
perfect sense if
you knew them.
In fact, it’s all because
of a trip to Kolkata,
serving alongside
Mother Teresa’s
Missionaries of Charity
that they got together
in the first place.

Thank-you India,
but thank-you also,
no Alanis was played
that night.

They met through friends
who knew them both,
and who instantly knew
they should be
set up, even though
they lived nowhere near
one another. But, they had
faith. It was bound to work.
And truth be told,
it has. Through even more
periods of long distance,
moves across the
world, and three children
later, they’re still standing.

But the wedding day had
a bit of a rough start.
A few of us visited
the barn in the late
morning to drop off
and set up the sound
gear for the dance

The barn that
they rented, out there on the
outskirts of that town
in Middle America,
didn’t have, it turned out
any potable water.

It wasn’t an area with
a typical boil water advisory
like too many Indigenous
communities across
the continent.
It was just a barn that
wasn’t set up for that.
No matter, we only had
a few hundred coming.

Nobody’s mom was there
to tell us what to do,
which ruins the obvious
parallel, but then again,
maybe Mary’s gutsy DIY
spirit was still with us there
that day.

All this to say, there were
many kegs of beer,
and there was zero drinking water.

This was no Jesus move.
Perhaps quite the opposite.
but after heading back
into town and grabbing
some food at Jimmy John’s,
or Chipotle, or whatever,
we loaded the back
of the truck with water.
Gallons of it. Gallons and
gallons and gallons.

Not quite 120 or 180,
But enough.

On the third day there was
a wedding in Cana of Galilee,
and Mary was there.
You remember Mary, of course,
The one, who when the angel
showed up, sang:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God
my Saviour,
For he has looked with favour
On the lowliness of his servant…”

Jesus’ mom was there,
and she got how awkward it
was when wedding plans
didn’t work out quite
how you’d imagined.

But she knew Jesus, she knew
the angel’s promise, and she
knew just where she was.
In Cana of Galilee, a village
whose industries included
fishing, hunting,
farming. Maybe wine tourism
too. But Cana of Galilee, like
much of the region was under
encroaching occupation,
and experiencing the bigotry,
and violence that come with it.

Nobody could remember a time
when the community’s elders
weren’t mocked or harassed
by occupying forces.
In fact, there were times,
and maybe you’ve heard of them,
when students — the officers’ entitled
children — would come by
caravan and add insult to injury,
standing in the way of
the elders, blocking them,
jostling them, mocking them,
looking smug
and entitled at them.

Because that’s exactly
what they were. With no
concern for the grace-filled
humanity before them.

Even still, the elders would sing
to the steady beat of the drum.
Like a heartbeat to keep them
firm and grounded in Creator’s
rhythm, the one that tells all
Creation who we are, in the
face of all the world throws
against us.

The elders, they
would sing the songs of the ancestors,
would tell the rich stories
of Creator, and Creator’s love
for all creation. Birds of the
air. Fish of the sea.
Creatures of the land. Including
this beloved people. Even here. Even now.
Beloved. In the face of this monstrosity.

Even still, the elders would sing,
Songs carrying dignity in the face
Of thievery, in the face
of those who would
overturn the economy of gift,
replacing it with the idolatrous
and rapacious currency of the
colonising forces
of the Roman legionnaires.

While every creature on earth
bears Creator’s imprint,
Creator’s spark,
Creator’s voice,
all those lifeless coins can do
Is weigh you down.

If you remember Mary’s song,
You’ll also remember these lines:

He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the
          Thoughts of their hearts
He has brought down the powerful
          From their thrones,
And lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
          And sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel
          In remembrance of his mercy,
          According to the promise he made
To our ancestors.

Which is all a long way
of getting back to the wedding.
And the ask.

They’re out there in
Cana of Galilee,
a small settlement
off the beaten path.
Resources are scarce,
Especially under occupation
Especially now.

There had been a time,
of course, when the fish were
plentiful, and the vineyards hadn’t
been plundered by the invading
But that was then.
And this is now.

They were getting married,
they invited the community,
who showed up, as was custom,
with gifts of food and drink
to share.

Mary sees what’s about to happen,
And she can’t even. She can’t
let this happen, and so she prompts
Jesus to be who she knows him to be.

If God is the God of miracles.
If God is the God of the oppressed,
then by God, they are going to dance
tonight. If God is the one who fills
the hungry with good things,
there is no better time than this
to experience that joy.

Mary won’t let these two young
members of her community
be put to shame. Not after all
they’ve been through.
Occupation and expropriation of lands,
Decimating crops and arable land,
Clear-cutting forests to build ever
bigger cities. And a few too many walls.
It’s all there. And these peasants
continue to push back.
And they continue to fight.
But for now. For tonight, what they
really need is a party. What they
really need is to celebrate.

And so, Jesus takes the jars,
those jars whose waters
and whose ceremonies were
used to mark the difference between
clean and unclean,
insider and out,
and he uses them
as if to say,
the source of all goodness,
the source of all life,
the source of living water,
is for all of you. It’s for all of us.
In sharing this cup, we will be made whole.
God calls us beloved. God will lift up the lowly.
even in this era of domination,
it is possible to secede, to pull back,
to resist.

To stay strong, to find reason to sing.
To abandon all reason and dance.

Because grace.
Creator’s grace, which was
extended from the
beginning of the world,
Is being reawakened here
tonight. In this covenant,
in this community.
In the face of hatred and bigotry,
in the face of rising oceans, and melting ice,
in the face of all that ails this world,
and all it throws in our face, and the faces
of countless others,

Because grace. God’s grace speaks a new
and resounding truth, a truth at times hidden
and masked, yet present from the dawn of time.

So, remember:
All Creation is Beloved.
Tonight, we celebrate.
Tonight, we feast.

And tomorrow we return to the fight
For the world of God’s dreams. And ours.