Who gets the glory?
John 2:1-11

We hear today the familiar story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana.  I’m sure we’ve all at some stage wondered what it would be like to have the power to turn water into wine.  Especially the wine drinkers among us!  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take a jug of water worth a few cents and turn it into quality wine, worth many dollars a bottle.

It reminds me of the tale of Midas and his desire to turn everything he touched to gold.  At first it sounds ok, a good idea to be able to convert things into something more valuable.  But once the word got out, I’m sure the novelty would wear off fairly quickly.

Do you think the fame would go to your head, is there any chance you would contact ‘A Current Affair’ or one of those other shows and try and sell your story to increase the return on your abilities?  With a gift like turning water into wine you would surely be popular at parties, weddings, wine tastings, you name it.

But really that’s not what all of this was about.  Jesus wasn’t trying to draw attention to himself, in fact he didn’t even want to do it in the first place.  It was only at his mother’s encouragement that he reluctantly asked the servants to fill the jars to the brim.  When they were told to draw some out they discovered that the water had become wine and not just any wine, it was good.

Through doing this miracle the disciples believed in Jesus, it revealed his glory, and it was the first of many miracles that that he would do.  Yet he remained humble, almost reluctant to reveal the true power he had.  He had come as flesh, born in a stable, laid in a manger, lived the simple life of a carpenter, listened intently at the feet of the rabbi’s and teachers.  Now that he had revealed the glory and power that he had, you would naturally think that he would change, but no, he remained humble and pure to the end.

What about you and I?  We all have gifts, given to us by God, as we heard in our Corinthians reading.  There was a long list of them wasn’t there, manifestations of the Spirit for the common good, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, all activated by the Holy Spirit.  That’s where their power comes from, but is that where the credit goes?

Usually in life the accolades for any gifts or abilities are aimed squarely at the individual aren’t they?  It’s pretty easy to get caught up in it if and when it comes.  I couldn’t help but think that the other week when the news of Mary MacKillop’s potential canonisation as a recognised saint was coming out.  The news reports were all talking about what she did to justify being recognised as a saint. 

Not once was credit given to God, Father, Son or Holy Spirit.  Nothing of what she did was possible without God.  I apologise if you think differently, but in my opinion all of the credit should go to God, not some person that God may have given specific gifts to for the common good.

I would like to note that yesterday as I was eating my breakfast in Adelaide I read an article in the much maligned Adelaide Advertiser which was an interview with the lady who claims she was healed through praying to Mary MacKillop.  In this article credit WAS given to God, I finally read that although she had prayed to Mary, it was God who had done the healing.  I was greatly relieved and glad that I’d read the paper while eating my breakfast.

A couple of weeks ago there was a family claiming that the oil coming from the walls of their house were a blessing from God and that their dead son should be made a saint as well.  Once again no mention of the power of God or giving glory to God for what was happening, it was all about the son.

As I asked earlier are we really any different?   If we were the person who had a particularly spectacular gift, either in the spiritual or worldly sense, would we give glory to God or would we want to take all the credit ourselves.  You don’t often hear people giving credit to God for their gifts and talents do you?

I know sometimes when we see celebrities or sports people thanking God for their victory we can tend to mock them, for being a bit pious and over-bearing, but at least they are giving witness, in public to the one who gave them their gift, regardless of their motivation or our take on it!

Our aversion to a theology of glory makes us very wary of those who are successful who give credit to God.  We fear that the message that they are conveying is that if we too rely on God we will be successful.  In mocking these people do we run the risk of throwing out the potential good that the person giving credit to God may be doing?  If they are simply and humbly giving thanks to God for the blessing he has given them through their success, then surely we should applaud that?

Are we so caught up in the theology of the cross that we think we must spend our lives being downtrodden and hard done by?  Sometimes I think that is the case.  It all gets very confusing!

I think we can learn from this text today that Jesus used the gifts he had been given by the father, for the good of others and with the encouragement of his mother.  I would like to encourage you to use your gifts too, and in doing so give glory to the one who gave them too you, the source of your gifts and talents.  God is all powerful and flat out amazing, we don’t now, nor ever will in this life fully understand that.  We may not have spectacular gifts, that make people want to stop and stare or put us on a current affairs show on TV, but each of us has gifts for building up the kingdom of God.

You are not very likely to be put forward as a candidate for sainthood, but you are already a part of the communion of saints, the body of Christ.  You are at the one time, sinner and saint, living in a post-fall world, you are a sinner, but you are a forgiven sinner, forgiven by God.  In response to that you are encouraged to use the gifts that God has given you, so that others may see the glory of God shining through you.

As we use those gifts, we show each other the love of God that we are to share with our neighbours, and in doing so we bless them with God’s good and gracious gifts too, humbly in a new and right spirit, just as Jesus did at the wedding at Cana, and revealed his glory through his actions.

Amen.