Do Not Read This Post

Did I mention the wedding I attended last weekend? I did, didn’t I?

Did I mention that TUO and I were reverse twins without any foreplanning? I may have mentioned that.

I believe I mentioned that part of the striking and amazing service was Vedic and part of it was Roman Catholic and then there was a civil service bit. Did I not mention that? I believe I completely mentioned that.

(incidentally, how the hell did V keep his hat on while being repeatedly shot at? Did he have some kind of kevlar hat permanently affixed to his head? A little under-the-chinny tie? Carpet tape?)

One of the things I remember learning is this: a common reading for weddings in the Christian church (particularly the more Catholic churches – John 2:1-11). It’s all about this wedding that Jesus went to in Cana in Galilee. You know the story. It was a Jewish wedding, and there were six large cisterns of water for ceremonial Jewish cleansing. So then the wedding planners (because they hadn’t watched television programmes about How To Plan a Wedding) ran out of wine. So Mary said, “Jesus Christ! Do something!”

And Jesus was all, “Woman! Why you dissin’ me? Why you doin’ me this way? I’m not even supposed to BE here today!”

And Mary was all, “WhatEVS. Y’all, do whatever he says, because I am DONE. Do you hear me? DONE. I am NOT your servant anymore.”

And Jesus was all, “Bitch.”

So then he got all stompy and pouty and in a fit of pique, turned all the ceremonial cleansing water into wine. Now, I have some issues with this, which I never really thought about before:

1) It was **CEREMONIAL WASHING WATER**. So Jesus basically broke the religious aspect of the wedding. His guests were all, “Jesus! This is wine!” while they were wiping their sticky hands all over slaves’ backs.

2) Jesus TOTALLY hijacked the wedding. Here’s these two people who’ve just spent however many sheckles on their wedding, and they’ve invited the the whole Jewish quarter of Galilee, and then Jesus shows up with his miracle making and nobody even looks twice at the bride, because they’re all : “OooooOOooo. Look! The Messiah!” And the bride was all, “Oh Christ. Here we go.”

3) It’s not (and folks getting married in the church, pay attention here) actually about a wedding. I mean, the wedding is the setting, but it has nothing to do with the union of two souls; it has nothing to do with everlasting love in one another and the cleaving together and all that jazz. It’s really about the revelation of the Christ to the people. But it’s a passage that’s always troubled me. Moreso now that I’ve been thinking about it for a week.

I’ve heard this passage interpreted as an example of faith. That Mary had faith in what Jesus could/would do. But that doesn’t sit well. First of all, she’s his MOTHER. Of COURSE she has faith in what he can do. I’m pretty sure if he’d only been able to squeeze a thimbleful of wine out of someone’s robes, Mary’d have been all: “LOOK WHAT MY PERFECT CHILD CAN DO!!!” (and now Catholics everywhere are going to shiv me for dissing their virgin mother). But seriously; she’s all “do this thing”, and Jesus is all, “not a chance, ma”; and she’s all, “just do whatever he says”, to the servants.

What if what he’d really said was “You three, fill up these jugs with water. You three, take my purse and go buy three extra jugs of really good wine. Mum said I had to perform a miracle.”

Jesus said “my hour has not yet come”…to paraphrase again, he wasn’t even supposed to BE here today. But Mary pushed him. Sure, maybe he was a reluctant Christ (incidentally, that’d be a good name for a book of poetry: the reluctant christ. Just remember to credit Yours Truly when you use it) who really wasn’t into doing miracles at someone else’s wedding.

The priest was saying this passage is about opening yourself and being open to being filled with the love of God through Christ, and that through Christ, you will be transformed, like those jugs of water, and you will enjoy the glory of Heaven (extrapolated through the Sanctity of Holy Union and all that jazz).

Like I said, I’d never really thought about how Jesus had crashed someone’s wedding, ruined the ceremony, and then stolen the bride’s thunder. I’m positive I’m taking away the Wrong Thing from this passage. And yes, some of this is tongue-in-cheek…but part of the point of having religious texts (on the heels of the last post) is understanding them, and understanding them in context.

Sure, I get it that this event was the beginning of the Christ’s revelation. It was the first of His miracles. It was when everyone began to SRSLY believe in Him. So I guess in that way, if you use it to talk about how a wedding is another beginning, you can kind of draw a loose sort of correlation there….

…probably people just shouldn’t invite me to their weddings.

  5 comments for “Do Not Read This Post

  1. halifax_doula
    7 August 2010 at 5:43 am

    I like to think of John the Baptist and Jesus as Che Guevera and Fidel Castro (except of course the first two both died).

    I imagine that Fidel would have rather died in the revolution. It is much easier to be a messiah when you’re dead.

    • 7 August 2010 at 9:17 am

      It’s the beards, isn’t it?

  2. Jim
    7 August 2010 at 6:00 pm

    When writing funeral sermons was something I did from time to time, I thought that the Wedding at Cana story would be a great Gospel reading for my funeral, because it would make writing a funeral sermon *very easy* for the poor schmoe who got that job. “The party is a great place to be, but the best is yet to come!” Simple message. Orthodox theology. Nonjudgemental. Hope-giving. Easy peasy.

    When I did preach on this reading, it was at a regular Sunday Eucharist and I used it to illustrate how God *understands* family dynamics. There’s messianic, and there’s messing with mom.

    • 8 August 2010 at 10:03 pm

      Jim, *really* like the Wedding at Cana as a funereal reading. It really makes sense. In the sense that this is the next part of your story. You cannot stop it; it is inevitable, once you perform this miracle, you will become the Messiah. It is a beginning, and not an end.

      That is *beautiful* for a funeral. And yes, I see what you mean about the party and the best is yet to come. Do you think most people understand that the wedding is not the pinnacle of a union? I hope most do.

      Still, on the one hand, I see the Wedding at Cana as speaking to beginnings, but on the other hand, I see it as intensely sad and irksome. Sad because this is the Christ accepting His role as the Christ, and it seems to me that He was not prepared – how could He be?

      Irksome because He *totally hijacked that wedding*. If *I* did that; if I hung out at the back of the church and turned the water in the baptismal font into wine, His Nibs would get all huffy and start picking out his eyebrows, and he’d probably leave me there. And then I’d have some ‘splainin’ to do, and I’m pretty sure “but Jeeesus did it at Caaaaana” wouldn’t hold, if you will, water.

  3. Mrgod2u
    10 August 2010 at 9:44 am

    This (and all the miracle stories from the Bible) paint, for me, a strange and irreconcilable picture of Christ. They were all written years after his death and invariably along one of two different tracks. One most likely geared on one side at converting current Hebrews, and the other to appeal to the other “solar deities”. Personally I don’t think Jesus did any miracles, it kind of flies in the face of belief/proof.

    If we take the philosophy and ideas that he preached, essentially “the divine is in all of us” therefore “all humanity is a child of God (not just me)”. So to worship God is to worship the God in fellow humanity and give them love and adoration.

    These are fantastic creeds and thoughts. So to then go “and to prove that I am holy… Please sit back and watch my traveling miracle show” (Even if done humbly) just smacks of artistic license on the behalf of the authors of the gospels. These were people starting a new ministry and they would need to tell stories about the “holiness of Christ just to get people’s attention, (imagine the religious zealots in the square scene in Life of Brian).

    Anyway, I think that yes Christ may have been grappling with the consequences of being a great thinker and having an entourage, and attracting attention (as a possible rebel leader), but until I read it direct from his hand I am going to be a skeptic. I’ve seen David Blaine do some crazy stuff too.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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