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Reform Magazine | March 2, 2021

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Chapter & verse: John 2:1-12

Chapter & verse: John 2:1-12

John Bradbury considers what a wedding party tells us about God’s kingdom

It seems perverse to invite you to contemplate a vast wedding celebration just now. I’m writing this in the middle of a lockdown, when large gatherings of friends and family for a wedding are but a dim memory, and we can barely remember what a meaningful hug feels like. What on earth can a tale of a party tell us?

Perhaps it is because our human interactions with others have become so limited that I’ve been drawn to this reading this Epiphanytide. At a moment when so many of the things that bring joy, laughter and fun into our lives are missing, this story invites us to glimpse both that which has been lost, and that we look forward to.

Much of the Christian Gospel is difficult. I am normally one for inviting us to face that difficulty head on. It is about cross carrying, and the giving up of self for the sake of the other. But when John writes his Gospel, he tells us that the first of Jesus’ ‘signs’ was performed at a wedding, and a wedding where the wine was flowing freely. Too freely, perhaps, given that the guests had outdrank the hosts expectations.

For John, this is a moment of revelation. An Epiphany, if you will, of something of God’s ways with the world and desires for the world. And it turns out that God’s ways with the world can be discerned in the shape of a party…

John Bradbury is General Secretary for the United Reformed Church

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This is an extract from an article published in the February 2021 edition of Reform

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