From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
A TOUCH OF HUMOR
The worship service was over. A guest brought his pet monkey into the Social Hall for coffee. He sits at the piano as the monkey dances nearby holding a cup for tips. The monkey goes up to a member having coffee, dances and holds the cup to receive a tip. The member turns away. The monkey sticks his tail in the man's cup. The man is astonished. He goes to the guest playing the piano. He says, "...do you know your monkey stuck his tail in my coffee?..." The guest replies, "No, I don't, but if you hum the tune, I'll catch on and be able to play it for you!"
"...you will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand...a royal diadem in the hand of your God..." (Isaiah 62:3)
"...your righteousness is like the mighty mountains... your justice like the great deep..." (Psalm 36:5-10)
Today we want to praise you for the ordinary things of life, which we often take for granted:
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Some years back now, in a remarkable conversation with a very special friend, Dr. Willy Anderson, former professor of Nuclear Physics at M.I.T., Stanford University, Ohio State University, and Lockheed Martin scientist, commented on his unresolved issues concerning the composition and nature of things in outer space. There, of course, are still many that are, to this day, a great mystery. Willy, now in retirement, is a great intellect, a delightful, generous person, one who enjoys good food and great social times, and a devoted evangelical Christian.
Upon one occasion he said that he couldn't wait to get to heaven, indeed, at the appointed time, so he could finally ask Jesus two questions.
"Well, Willy," I said, "what would be the first question?"
He replied, "I'd like to ask Jesus about the unresolved issues concerning the nature of 'dark holes' in space."
"Yes", I said, "...and what would be the second question?"
Willy replied, "I'd like to check with Jesus and ask Him if there was still any leftover wine from the wedding of Cana in Galilee."
I laughed. I just wasn't expecting to hear something like that. To me, the sign of a good sense of humor.
The wedding was in its third day. His mother, Mary, was present, and the disciples were invited, too. People were having one whale of a time, but then..."My Goodness!"... the wine ran out. Mother Mary was there to the rescue. She sensed Jesus could take care of the dire situation. Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.
Six stone water jars, each holding twenty to thirty gallons, were filled to the brim and presented to the master of the banquet. His comment, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best until now."
For those of us who partake, we drink too much cheap wine, thinking that quantity will make up for quality. Jesus made sure that the best stuff was saved for last. He does the same thing in our lives.
I sometimes think of the "abundant life" in Christ as being like sipping an excellent glass of fine wine. Yes, I know, some folks would take offense to the suggestion because of how often people abuse the use of alcohol. It's great if handled properly, for those who choose to partake.
We can expect that Jesus will always save the best for last. It's just one way to explain the advantage of faith.
God Almighty, in His imaginative, glorious way, calls us from a "fallen world" into the magnificent "wedding feast" of His beloved Son---with each one of us---united with Him, in faith, bonded together through the work of the Holy Spirit.
In a larger way, the second basic step of faith, receiving the Holy Spirit into our lives, can be likened to partaking in the best wine made available at the wedding in Cana.
Saint Paul said a mouthful when he laid it on the line in 1 Corinthians 12:3b, "...no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit..."
One remembrance coming to mind is the painting of "Jesus Knocking on the Door" (that being, of our heart) that was on the church altar of our former church building in Wisconsin. This painting spoke to my heart.
dSometimes it gets bad...
Life for many people is "just life". Blah! Nothing is really going on there...day to day, week to week, month to month. We go to work. We pay the bills. Etc., etc., etc. There's a lot of television and not too much excitement or anticipation of good things to come. There's hardly time to "smell the roses" and treasure of the gift of our life.
Enter the Holy Spirit...there are a host of important things and there are essentials in this life...
The reason for God in our lives is to bring a sense of purpose and well-being. Know that life has a higher purpose than all these other lesser things---details regarding a purposeless life produce a blur in our mind. The reason for God is to bring meaning and focus into our lives:
It happens when we make a decision -- to die to things that remind us of unpleasant things — death, life without meaning, boredom, and seeming purposelessness. These cause us to fall into deep despair at times.
Make a personal choice.
Die to a lot of things in life that just do not provide joy and personal peace. Be raised up into newness of life through the Holy Spirit — already at work in each one of our hearts. All you need to do is open the package.
When the wedding feast of life has run its course--- and the wine has run out---and the party's about to abruptly end...that's when Jesus shows up to liven things up
What a great Gospel lesson in John we have to consider... we thought life was almost over for us...and now we know that life is just about to begin in an abundance it was meant to be---from the time we were conceived in the womb.
We tried it our way and things didn't work out for us. Now we will simply do it God's way, with reason to decide to live our life in Jesus, we experience joy and peace and have the assurance things are going to be just great!
"...all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and act according to His purpose..." ([Paul] Romans 8:28)
When it seems to look as if the wedding feast is about to end, Jesus intervenes and keeps things going (again) ---over and over again. The fine wine never runs out. Let Him liven up the feast of abundant life---yes, your reasonable and rightful life, your joy, your destiny---in Him.