I spent some time with the story of Jesus’s first miracle last week. In several books I read last year, authors referenced Ignatian Contemplation, or Imaginative Prayer. Sounds fancy, but it basically means putting yourself in the story. I was reading through John, and was stopped in my tracks by the interaction between Jesus and his Mom at a wedding party, so I decided to give Ignatian Contemplation a go.
Jesus had left his home and had been out collecting disciples. I have some idea of how Mary was feeling with her first born son suddenly pulling away from their family. It was likely a wedding of family friends, since they were both invited and made the effort to attend.
Mary was already there, likely with the mother of the groom (the groom’s family would have been in charge of the after-party), then in strides Jesus with a bunch of ragamuffin new friends. I wonder if there was a sudden mix of pride and a little embarrassment at what her old friends might think. It’s also interesting to consider how much the people in that room already knew about Jesus if he grew up around them. We aren’t privy to those stories, but don’t you know there were some good ones?
Mary suddenly realized that her friends were about to face a significant embarrassment of their own – no wine at their son’s wedding celebration – what would that signal to the bride’s family and to the community? She got the social implications in a heartbeat, and from her human perspective, there was a lot on the line.
Then, somehow, she and Jesus were in the kitchen. I’m guessing he was summoned. At least one of his new friends came along (the end of the passage states that “his disciples believed”, so someone was in on it). Mary was in a tizzy – probably familiar to Jesus. Did he roll his eyes in playful respect? “They are about to run out of wine!” she said. He knew exactly what she wanted. “It’s not my time yet,” he calmly replied.
She was having none of it, turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now this is really something – because either Jesus didn’t know it was his time (unlikely), or Mary, in her motherly determination, changed the mind of the man who was God in the flesh. I wonder if that is why we are told so often to pray – maybe God really wants to know what is important to us – maybe it changes things sometimes.
All of the both/ands of God can be confusing. He is sovereign and we are free. On that day, his sovereign plan came up against his mother’s fervent and free desire, and the God-man was moved. The sovereign plan shifted. Wow.
I love that his first miraculous interaction is such a human one and that it involved a want rather than a need. He saw their desire to celebrate as a holy thing. Humans enjoying wine together to rejoice in community was holy. It was very good.
I also love that the first people who interacted with miracle-performing-Jesus were the servants. They were the nobodies in the room, and the miracle was dependent on their help. The servants were his people. He loved his Mom. He wasn’t afraid of women in leadership.:) He loved his friends. He loved their small, yet complex, human hearts. And he loved good wine. Cheers.