Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Message from Guest Speaker Josh Rude on the Wedding at Cana

This week's progress across the street. 
The forecast is for unseasonably cold weather this coming week, but we're braced for it. Meantime, today it's a sunny morning here in the Northland and we're gathered for worship at New Life Covenant Church outside Twig. Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us, noting that the Shannons are up at Lake Vermillion having a family reunion.

Josh Rude has served in the Covenant Church in Sarnia, Ontarion just across from Detroit.

~ Janzen's party is next week. Come hungry.
~ We'll be singing at Viewcrest on Tuesday.
~ Council meeting will be Tuesday.
~ Thank you to those who donated blood. Each pint saves three lives.

Chuck shared a bit about nicknames inspired by Daily Bread. One woman used to fly at night and was nicknamed Fly By Night. Another friend was nicknamed Fats because he always rode a Fat Boy motorcycle. All this as lead-in to the nicknames for God.... our Mighty God, our God Who Provides and our Strong Tower, the Lord our Righteousness... and Jehovah Shalom, the God of Peace.

The trio then led us into a time of worship singing from the new Lillenas song booklets. During the offering they sang the upbeat classic "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?" followed by a time of prayer.

Chuck introduced Josh Rude who now lives in this area.

The Wedding at Cana

My name is Josh Rude. I grew up in Crookston, Minn. Went to Bible camps in the region, then seminary. After four years in Canada they have returned to Minnesota.

He began by reading about Jesus at the wedding in John 2.

What does it take to amaze you? What makes your jaw drop?

Weddings are pretty impressive engagements. People gather, friends and family, and a sense of what God is doing bringing these two people together.

The ceremony often usually has a few hiccups, but we do our best to eliminate as many as possible.

First Rule: No attempts at humor by best man.
Second: Bathroom breaks before the service.
Third: Are the rings where they are supposed to be?
Fourth: Use short sentences to keep it simple.

This wedding in John 2 had a major hiccup. In those days the wedding was a week long event, celebrating the joining of two families. In the midst of the banquet the wine ran out.

Wine was a symbol of abundance, a sign of hospitality and gladness. But whether it was poor planning or something else, the party would be ending much too soon. But Jesus, in making wine, shows that grace is abundant.  He didn't just talk about grace. He showed what grace looks like.

His mother comes to Jesus and says, "They have no more wine." The Minnesota way of making a request without being too direct or demanding.

Mary, who knows Jesus is God, says to the servants, "Do whatever He tells you to do." And they did.

Jesus says to His mom, "My hour is not yet come." He's not talking about time... He's referring to His moment in history. But the moment unfolds.

There are six stone jars not being used over in the corner, and He tells the servants to fill them with water. This is six thirty gallon jars, and maybe overkill for this party, but again a symbol of God's abundance. They bring a cup to the master of the banquet, who marvels. "Usually the best is brought out first. You saved it till now. How did this happen?" The servant points to the man over there who came with his mom.

Josh shared a story about a woman in Ecuador whom he met on a mission trip. Her name was Mercedes, and she didn't speak English or Spanish, so all they could do was smile at each other as they worked alongside one another, she smiling with half her teeth missing, but still cheerful.

One the of major milestones for girls in Mexico is their Quinceanera. The Quinceanera is a ceremony celebrating their fifteenth birthday, quince being the Spanish word for 15 and is sometimes called the fiesta de quince anos (fifteen years) marking the transition from girlhood to womanhood.  Josh's story was about a woman named Mercedes who showed him the meaning of grace and abundance by sharing her communion glass-sized "toast" with him after he inadvertently drank his goblet sized juice instead of waiting for the proper moment. His mistake was graciously and abundantly "covered over" when she shared.

The experience touched him, even if inadequately conveyed by this scribe's efforts to tell it. But the point was clear:  God is pouring Himself out all around us. May we have the perspective to see that as He, smiling, pours out His abundance.

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