Joy and a Job

2 Epiphany

Isa. 62:1-5Ps. 36:5-101 Cor. 12:1-11John 2:1-11

“All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Ps. 36:7). Unless a religion like this is given space to breathe and grow, we remain stuck in narrow orthodoxies on a respirator delivering puffs of correctness, rightness, ossifying the lungs, and killing the heart. It is a curse to be right in such a way that others are categorically wrong. What a lonely, sad life. And, for the record, orthodoxy really means “right glory or worship.” Glory is almost always associated with light. “The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Again, the light is for everyone and for the world. God will make this clear.

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch” (Isa. 62:1). You will have a new name. In the hand of the Almighty you will rest, wearing the crown of your beauty. “My delight,” God says, “my bride, my love” (Isa. 62:3-5). There is abundance here, food for a feast, rivers of delight, a fountain, and life-giving light. Here everyone drinks from the common cup of all goodness. There are two rules: delight and steadfast love.

Jesus gives this water. Sometimes he turns the water to wine, a sign of his glory, evidence that he joins human happiness, raising it from inferior and transient fun to the good wine that never runs out. The wine is the joy and presence of his life that we drink at his invitation (John 2:1-11). And what do we feel? “Oh my God thou are true, O my soul thou are happy” (Richard Hooker). Sometimes water is enough to convey the mystery of his endless being. Jesus says to the woman of Samaria, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

Not only is there joy in the fresh water of Christ, there is also the taste of a double conviction. I have Christ entirely, and yet I have my small work to do. “Jesus is Lord” wholly and completely. His Spirit, however, gives a diversity of gifts, tasks, services, activities. These he gives for the common good. Let’s sit with a teacher. “All the members together make up the body of Christ in the unity of the Spirit, and render each other necessary service through their gifts. God has arranged the various parts of the body according to his own will, but there exists among them all a spiritual fellowship which makes it natural for them to share one another’s feelings and to be concerned for one another. … As all the parts are present in a single whole, so each of us is in the Spirit since all who make up the one body have been baptized into the one Spirit” (On the Holy Spirit, Basil the Great, Cap. 26, nn. 61, 64).

The abundance of this house is the inexhaustible presence of Christ given to all equally. It is also the loving distribution of fitting talents so that each may do a meaningful work for the whole.

My daughter says to me, “I want to dance with you!” She says, “You need to take me to the grocery story.” She has her gift and I have mine. We dance and buy yogurt. Light shines and life hums.

Look It Up: Read John 2:8. Now draw some out.

Think About It: Use the gift you have.


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