Many of us are probably familiar with the story of the wedding at Cana…the changing of the water into wine is attributed as Jesus’ first miracle, and the Gospel tells us that “the disciples believed.” What we sometimes gloss over, however, is Mary’s belief.
Jesus’ mom was there to kiss scraped knees and remove wood splinters during her son’s childhood. She was a refugee with him and her husband Joseph in Egypt while they waited for Herod to pass from power. They likely learned that foreign language together as mother and son while they were there. She watched him go out the door to Torah school and wondered to herself if he was doing more learning or teaching, after that whole incident at the Temple in Jerusalem when he was 12.
And today, as she watches him interacting with his disciples and all the folks at the wedding, her relationship with him goes through a transformation every bit as dramatic as the change from virgin to mother. She goes from being his mother to being a disciple. The Gospel reads that after the miracle the disciples believed, but it was before the miracle that Mary believed! Otherwise she wouldn’t have asked her son to intervene.
Mary’s life reminds us that transforming to a believer often comes with pain. The transformation that Mary makes from mother to disciple has to have come at a painful cost. Her relationship with her other children likely changed, as did her relationships with friends and neighbours. And we certainly know there is great pain awaiting her at the foot of the cross. Yet she still chose to be transformed. Christianity’s history is full of believers who gladly bore pain, even death, for the sake of the transformation Jesus made in them.
This week, I invite you to spend some time thinking about the ways you might be transformed by an encounter with Jesus. Maybe you already have been and you’re celebrating. Don’t worry – with Jesus, transformation is definitely more than a one-time thing! You’ll be transformed again, deeper and wider. Maybe you’re in the middle and it’s painful. Maybe you feel like you’re still waiting for a transformation to happen. It will. The Gospels are full of stories of people who were transformed by Jesus.
One of my favourite lines is “God loves you just the way you are and has no intentions of leaving you like this!” That’s transformation. That’s God’s promise, with skin and eyes and red wine stains on his hands, called Jesus. No matter where you are in God’s transformation of you, remember Mary, not just the wine, when you think of the wedding at Cana. Because if Jesus can transform her, he can transform us. And for that, thanks be to God!
Janet Taylor, Interim Moderator
Sherwood Park Presbyterian Church