This week’s Revised Common Lectionary Readings (click here to open a tab and read them all), offer an opportunity to think upon the love and gifts of God us.

John 2:1-11 is Christ’s first public miracle, which John calls a sign, something that authenticates Christ’s personhood and divinity.

A recurring question I have with this passage is, why this? Why would the first sign or wonder be turning water into wine, and over 120 gallons at that!? Why not a healing or raising someone from the clutches of death? Why this . . . extravagance? And what’s up with his mother? Does she know something we don’t? If this is his first public wonder, then did he do some things privately?

Maybe that is a point I need to think about and elaborate upon: in Christ there is not just enough, but more than enough. Joy and extravagant joy! Christ did say in John 10:10 that he came to give life and that we might have life to its fullest. What would happen if I held in my attention that God cares about my happiness?

Isaiah 62:1-5 Speaking of marriage! Through the prophet Isaiah, God makes a passionate promise of love and deliverance. They are suffering in another land because they broke the covenant. Their society fell apart because they severed their religious and relational bonds. I mean, something has to hold a community together! They were deported or, truer, taken as prisoners of war. They languish, and yet God loves them and will deliver them.

Just as Jesus didn’t change one barrel of water, God doesn’t pledge to just bring them back and to love them. No, God pledges not to keep silent, that God will deliver them from captivity. “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem in the hand of God.” Perhaps they have felt like a rock in the shoe of God, but God considers them a precious jewel. You are precious in God’s sight.

There is a reversal: you are there and I will bring you here/home. You have been labeled Forsaken and Desolate, but your name will be, “My Delight Is in Her,” and “Married.” Why? Because the Lord delights in you . . . and just as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Incidentally, Revelation 21 picks up this imagery of bride and groom and God living with us forever.

If God is not judging me, but has taken steps to deliver me and be with me (now and forever!), then what does it look like for me to have a closer relationship with God?

Psalm 36:5-10 The lectionary leaves out the first four verses concerning the prevalence and danger of the wicked on earth. This worshipper sees God’s steadfast love all over: the heavens, the clouds, the mighty mountains. Not only that, but God is a refuge. Just as the bride and groom in the other passages would find a home under the loving arms of the other, so too we find “refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.”

Verse 8 ties with John 2, “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” The river of your delights. God’s blessings are a never-ending stream and this worshipper traces the blessings upstream to their source: a God who cares for daily provision and extravagant extras. God is indeed a fountain of life. In the blessing of God we bless; in the forgiveness of God we can forgive; in the light of God we can see light.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 This well-known passage is typically used to talk about the gifts of God given to us to use in the world. My first look at this, I see that I’m not inclined to preach it, as I typically talk about this in a different way throughout our announcements and other sermons.

I’ll explain using GPS, which stands for Gifts, Passions, and Skills. If you want to know how to serve God and gain direction for your life, then use your GPS! God has not only created us with dignity in God’s own image, but God has also given everyone gifts (unique abilities), passions (things we love to do), and skills (abilities we have honed that may not be “God-given” but can be used for good).

What I love about this passage is that Paul is very blunt, everyone, and I mean everyone, has a way to serve others and glorify God. Everyone can help. Some help in ways that are out in the open and some help in the background. We need them all! And whatever it is that is our GPS, it is a gift of God that we can offer the world!

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