The Wine of Gladness Rev Dr Durrell Watkins The 36th psalm says, “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in […]
The Wine of Gladness
Rev Dr Durrell Watkins
The 36th psalm says,
“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.”
That message of divine provision is repeated in the gospel lesson today. Jesus is at a party, a wedding feast, and the provisions are running low. But then, Jesus affirms that there is abundance beyond what can be seen in a single moment, and the goodness flows again.
Mary tells the caterers, “do whatever Jesus tells you.”
Cooperate with the visionary. Support the positive thinker. Embrace the possibilities of positive change. Say yes to opportunities.
There is power in YES. I’ve often said that when prayers aren’t answered it isn’t that the Universe said no, it’s that we said no to Heaven’s Yes. We would only accept it if it came in the way we specified, instead of realizing the yes to our heart’s desire might come in a bigger, better package than what we first imagined.
Instead of saying, “why was the answer no?”, we should sometimes ask, “In what way was the answer yes?” And then, when we say yes to the yes, the wine of gladness flows.
Life is offering us something right now. An opportunity. A moment of comfort. The beginning of a breakthrough. A lesson that will serve us well down the road. There is a blessing for us today if we will say yes to it. So, right now, let’s say YES.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Two other points I want to lift up from the gospel lesson today.
First, there is a stewardship message in the story. When they seemed to run out of something, they still had something else to share. No more wine? Let’s share water. Was it the finest wine ever because of a Jedi mind trick that made them think the water was wine? Or was it some sort of magic that changed the water into wine? Or was the wine a metaphor? When we share what we have, it will also be a gift to someone. Sharing keeps the wine of gladness flowing.
Whether it’s a widow sharing what she believed would be her last meal with a prophet, or a kid sharing his brown bag lunch with a multitude, the bible shows over and over that when we share what we have, no matter how little it may seem to be, miracles tend to happen.
We might notice that tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King shared hope, courage, and his very life. And the world was changed because of it. When we give what we have, it makes a difference.
Finally, the wine of gladness is a symbol for joy. The miracle takes place at a party, a celebration.
The first gay bar I ever went to was on a rural two lane highway. I had my first “real” kiss. Oh, I had kissed before, but that night was my first REAL kiss (you know what I mean). I danced, I laughed, I played, I was surrounded by people like me and celebrated who we were. I don’t remember the door person, or the bartenders, but I know they provided an environment that gave me a night that I will never forget.
Later in the evening, someone came into the bar and shouted, “Girls! Some queen has driven her car into a ditch.” About 2/3 of the people in the room left, surrounded that car, and lifted it to level ground. Afterward, some wisp of a guy said, “I haven’t felt that butch in years.” We laughed, and we were happy to have come to the rescue of someone in need.
When we celebrate life, when we embrace joy, we have more to share, more to give. When we celebrate what is good, we can handle what is difficult. I learned that in a rural bar one night while dancing, kissing, and lifting a car.
Today we are remembering fondly those who help us celebrate. Bartenders, waiters, cosmetologists, florists, hotel clerks, baristas, housekeepers…those who serve give of themselves so that we all can enjoy life a bit more. Jesus said that his purpose wasn’t to be served, but to serve. When we serve, we are following the example of Jesus. And those who do it day in and day out deserve our appreciation. Let’s give some love to those who choose to serve to make our lives better.
Say yes to Life’s blessings.
Share what you can.
Offer service, and appreciate those who serve.
And that formula will make a difference in your life and in the world; and this is the good news. Amen.
© Durrell Watkins 2016
Pour joy into my heart, O God.
Refresh and renew me today.
And may I share joy with others.