By Helen Murray
Blogger at Are We Nearly There Yet?
Morning, Lord God.
I have in front of me the remains of the finest cup of coffee ever made. It isn’t a Costa bucket of vanilla latte, or a sophisticated restaurant’s after dinner dark and splendid filter something or other with bite size dark chocolate mint. Not even one of those wonderful hot hot coffees with a generous dash of Amaretto and half an inch of cream floating on top that give you a comedy moustache.
It’s made with a simple domestic kettle, circa 2009, (Breville, to be precise). Jar of instant, dash of granulated, splash of semi-skimmed. Yet somehow, this morning, sitting on this same stool, in front of the same computer,from the same mug, this particular cuppa is transcendental. I know that if I make another straight away, as I will be compelled to, because this mug is nearly finished, the second will be sadly inadequate in comparison.
Still. Carpe diem. Seize the moment. This coffee is just what I needed. Mm.
Thankyou. For kettles, coffee and tastebuds.
I’m going to put the kettle on again now. It’s bound to be a triumph of hope over experience but I shall do it anyway.
That’s just by the way. I wanted to share a little moment’s joy with you; you share so many with me.
Well, my thought for the day is about that bit in the Bible where you turn water into wine, Lord. Remember that? I wonder if you’re smiling at the memory. Their faces must have been a picture. But I get ahead of myself.
Your Mum knew you, didn’t she? She saw. Well, that’s obvious – from before you came along she knew she wasn’t having Joe Average as a baby boy, but this story of the wedding in Cana makes me smile.
I like that she knew the hosts were going to run out of wine, and she wanted to fix it. She wanted to save them the embarrassment of an early end to the party and she knew just the way to do it. I might have nipped down to the Off-licence for a bottle or three but she knew a better way.
She knew you.
‘When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’
Jesus said, ‘Woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.’
I like that you put up a bit of token resistance. Keep me out of it, Mum. I don’t want the limelight just yet… oh alright then. She went ahead anyway. Do as he tells you. My boy will sort it out.
‘His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
And you did. How you did. I love that you didn’t let your Mum look daft by sticking to your guns, and most of all I love that your first miracle was turning water into wine so that people could party. Why did you do it? So that they could have fun. So that the party could go on. So you could dance and drink and laugh and celebrate. My God, why on earth do people think that you are a spoilsport god who wants to drain the fun out of life? You were anything but subdued. I like to think of you dancing and mingling and throwing back your head laughing, loading your plate from the buffet and enjoying a glass or two of the finest wine ever produced.
‘Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from eighty to a hundred and twenty litres.
Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and so they filled them to the brim.
Here’s what struck me. You told the servants to fill the big stone jars to the brim with water. They did. You changed the water into wine. Job done.
If they’d filled them half-full with water, you’d have changed that water to wine, but there would have been less of it.
You ask us to give you what we have, and what we give you, you transform. If I give you a bit of my life, then that’s what you have to work with. If I give you all of it, full to the brim, every last drop, then you will take all of it and make it all into something wonderful that brings glory to you.
If those servants had been disobedient or held back, maybe because the huge stone jars were too heavy, or they couldn’t be bothered, couldn’t see the point – then there would have been no wine, or only a little. They did as they were asked and they were witnesses to something dramatic.
‘Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He didn’t realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.’
You, your mother and the servants were the only people at that party that knew what you’d done (as far as we know; maybe word got round, because the disciples found out) but those servants must have been wide-eyed with awe. They were honoured with the first glimpse that the carpenter from Galilee had something special. Did you smile? Did you wink? Did you take them aside and introduce yourself? Or did you just leave them mystified but impressed?
‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best till now.’
Lord God, I want to give you my life brim full. I want to make sure that you have every opportunity to change it into something wonderful that I could never achieve on my own. The problem is that the jars are heavy and I am weak, and I am also lazy and doubtful and although I know in my head that you want nothing but good for me, sometimes I think I know best. I find myself thinking that this particular bit of my life, that sensitive issue, that thing that I know is wrong but I sort of like it the way it is; those bits I hang on to. I admit that my jar isn’t full.
Help me, Lord. I don’t want to be half-hearted. I don’t want to be half-full-half-empty. The wine you made was better than the stuff that the family had bought in for the wedding. It was good wine. Why would I hang onto my half-empty jar of water instead of bringing it to you?
So, here I am. I’m standing by the empty jars. That’s me, watching you, worrying about the wine, wondering what to do, wishing I dared. Come over and smile gently and show me which bits of me I’m holding back. The bits that I, in my self-absorption, think that I can take care of better than you. Then let me fill those jars to the brim, so that you can perform the miracle you promise for me; to transform me into the person you always intended me to be.
Yes, please, Lord.