Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio
A congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Second Sunday after Epiphany
Introduction & Welcome
Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!
and all the time! God is good!
The Sundays after Epiphany continue to celebrate the revelation of God’s glory to us as it was made known to the magi and to those on Jordan’s banks at Jesus’ baptism—today using wedding imagery. Our God rejoices over God’s people as those being married rejoice over one another. By the power of the Spirit there are gifts galore for everyone. In Christ Jesus the best wine is saved for last. Taste and see.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates us,
and calls us by name.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
and your beloved children.
We have turned our faces away from your glory
when it did not appear as we expected.
We have rejected your word
when it made us confront ourselves.
We have failed to show hospitality
to those you called us to welcome.
Accept our repentance for the things we have done
and the things we have left undone.
For the sake of Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
Forgive us and lead us, that we may bathe
in the glory of your Son born among us,
and reflect your love for all creation.
Rejoice in this good news:
In ☩ Christ Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
You are descendants of the Most High,
adopted into the household of Christ,
and inheritors of eternal life.
Live as freed and forgiven children of God.
Prayer of the Day
Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
The people’s return to Judah after the exile was marred by economic and political troubles. Nevertheless, the prophet declares, Jerusalem and Judah will be restored. God will rejoice over Jerusalem as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, and the people are called to the celebration.
1For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
2The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
5For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
Psalm: Psalm 36:5-10
We feast upon the abundance of your house, O Lord. (Ps. 36:8)
5Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the clouds.
6Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like the great deep; you save humankind and animals, O Lord.
7How priceless is your love, O God!
All people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8They feast upon the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9For with you is the well of life,
and in your light we see light.
10Continue your lovingkindness to those who know you,
and your favor to those who are true of heart.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
The congregation at Corinth experienced division as people were comparing their spiritual gifts, thinking some to be superior to others. Paul invites this fractured community to trust that God’s Holy Spirit has gifted them all perfectly for their mission together.
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
Alleluia. Jesus revealed his glory,* and his disciples believed in him. Alleluia. (John 2:1-11)
Gospel: John 2:1-11
Turning water to wine at the wedding at Cana is described as the first of Jesus’ signs. Through many such epiphanies, Jesus reveals that he bears God’s creative power and joyful presence into the world.
1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Meditation by David O’Brien
A man, we’ll call him Jim, went to a party recently, but he didn’t feel much like celebrating. You see, Jim had recently had several setbacks in his life. He’d lost his job, his marriage had ended in a bitter divorce and a friend he’d known most of his life had died unexpectedly. Life, it seemed to Jim, had become random and cruel. He was in a lot of pain and spent most of his free time alone. Some of the people around him thought it’d be a good idea if he got out and tried to be happy again. This party, however, just wasn’t working for Jim. It seemed that the spice in Jim’s life was gone. Put another way, like the wedding in Cana, the wine had run out.
When Mary came to Jesus at the wedding and told Him that they have no wine, I’ve always had the impression that Jesus was not ready to reveal to the world at large His true nature. I can almost picture Him rolling His eyes as she tells the servants to do whatever He says. Perhaps Jesus, like any good son, wants to make His mother happy. So, He tells the servants what to do and before you know it, we have the miracle of the water being turned into wine. This wine, when sampled by the chief steward, was the best wine he’d tasted all evening. The arrival of this new, good wine enabled the wedding feast to go on, rather than to fizzle out.
It’s like that in our own lives as well. Sometimes life can get you down. It can feel as though all the taste has gone out of it. Sometimes it can be serious things that take some of the joy out of life. Things like being the victim of a crime, for example. Weather it’s a financial crime, like being defrauded out of some money, or a crime against a person, such as an assault, it can be devastating to one’s self esteem. The constant recriminations in one’s own mind, like “why didn’t I see this coming” or “why didn’t I find a way to stop it” can nag at a person for years. It can also be simple or trivial things that take away some of the taste in your life. Let’s say your favorite team has been riding high all year and then, on the last game of the season, they suffer a bitter defeat. This leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but the nice thing about sports, for the most part, is that there’s always next year. Sometimes, it can be the monotony of life that can make it taste bland. You get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed and then start the whole thing over the next day. I imagine that for some folks, the sheer repetitiveness of it can get old after a time. It’s at those times, when you feel empty, that Jesus can fill your life back up with the best wine.
It’s significant to me that John tells us that this miracle took place ‘on the third day’. To me, at least, that’s a reference to Jesus’ resurrection. The life of the world had become empty after Jesus’ crucifixion. Especially to Christ’s disciples. Then, on the third day, the light of the world returned, even better than before, because now the world had been redeemed through Jesus Christ. We’ve heard references to the Church, and the world, being the bride and Jesus the bride groom. His death and resurrection being the wedding feast with His resurrection being the best wine which had been saved for the last. On the third day our lives are filled to the brim with the good wine; intoxicating us with the life of God, inebriating us with the blood of Christ, and leaving us under the influence of the Holy Spirit. That’s the miracle at Cana and it has never ceased happening. Every moment of every day Christ pours himself into the empty jars of our life. He is the good wine; extravagant, abundant, endless.
Prayers of Intercession
The Spirit of the Lord is poured out upon us in abundance; so we are bold to pray for the church, the world, and all that God has made.
A brief silence.
By your Spirit, activate within your church gifts of faith, healing, and prophecy. Unite those who profess your name across congregations, denominations, and geographic boundaries. Open our hearts to recognize and celebrate surprising miracles. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Your creation reflects your generosity. Bless farmers, migrant farm workers, orchard-keepers, ranchers, and all who tend the abundance of the land. Protect food and water sources from destruction, that all can eat and drink and be satisfied. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
By your Spirit, grant wisdom, knowledge, and discernment to those who hold leadership positions at any level, especially Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor. Direct policymakers toward compassionate decisions that build up safe and just communities. Lead all authorities in seeking and serving the common good. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
As Jesus provided generously in a moment of need, provide generous gifts of healing for those in need this day especially those on our prayer list and prayer board. Provide abundantly for all who are hungry or thirsty, all seeking shelter, and all who seek peace. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
You see us for who we are and you delight in us. Embrace those struggling with self-worth, wrestling with self-identity, or facing significant life transition. Remind us that nothing can separate us from your love. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
You bless us through the spiritual gifts of the saints who have gone before us. We give thanks for the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and all who have modeled the way of courageous faith. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Since we have such great hope in your promises, O God, we lift these and all of our prayers to you in confidence and faith, through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ, continues to teach us, we boldly pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
God, who leads you in pathways of righteousness,
who rejoices over you,
and who calls you by name,
☩ bless your going out and your coming in,
today and forever.
Go with Christ into a weary world.
Share the good news.
Thanks be to God.