This blog provides a meditation on the Episcopal daily readings along with a headline from world news:
2 Samuel 23:13-17
13 Towards the beginning of harvest three of the thirty chiefs went down to join David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15David said longingly, ‘O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!’ 16Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to the Lord, 17for he said, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?’ Therefore he would not drink it. The three warriors did these things.
This is such a beautiful story from an heroic culture, that we should leave it to touch the hearts of readers, noting on the one hand, the gallantry of the warriors and their love for David; and on the other, David’s recognition that only God can be honoured by such devotion. A warrior himself, he has not lost respect for human life.
2On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ 4And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ 5His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ 6Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Whatever its origin, this story plays with the image of the Messiah as the Bridegroom of Israel. The occasion is a village wedding but the message is that a greater bridegroom is present who will transform the old religion of Israel (the water in the stone jars) into the wine of the Gospel. The story is true to the apparent facts of Jesus’ ministry-that he brought the good news of new life into the insignificant villages of northern Israel. The village wedding becomes a foretaste of the Great Feast at which the Messiah will celebrate his victory over evil.
The daunting task of the Christian Church is to make this promise of rich life real to the world by its life. Whatever people’s beliefs they should be able to say of the church, “The good wine is here.”