Weekly worship: Sunday 20 January
- Isaiah 62:1-5
- John 2: 1 – 11
We find ourselves making sense of Jesus’ actions amongst the last of the party goers and servants at a wedding left with an embarrassing overflow of wine.
Is the epiphany in the magicking up of over 700 litres of wine? Or is it in the company who would now get to share that over-abundance of wine?
Christmas parties are well past now, in which staff – some on low pay zero-hour contracts – have had to smile and laugh off a series of unfunny drunken antics, and even deal with drunken sexual advances.
As the party ends, Jesus acts to ensure the party can continue amongst the low paid hired workers, so that the last are first in sampling the counter vision and new wine of the kingdom.
Lift up your eyes
It is the epiphany of poverty across the world that Christian Aid encourages us to lift up our eyes to see. To see poverty for the outrage against the image of God in humanity that it is. To see how it robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive.
But in that lifting up of our gaze, we also see that together we have the power to transform lives. For over 70 years, Christian Aid have been standing with the poorest of our neighbours – people of all faiths and none – to stand up for dignity, equality and justice.
We are encouraged to see those living in poverty as the Lord does, with his counter vision of transformation. They may be Isaiah’s ‘forsaken’, but with the bridegroom amongst them we see they are transformed into the beloved and toasted by him in the new wine of the kingdom.
Proclaim the praise of the Lord
The celebrations in these texts are about the cascade of love. The wedding image is not about the couple alone, but about a community gathered around mutual commitment between much loved spouses.
This is also the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The epiphanies of poverty call unity to be shaped for the sake of committing love and justice, and as we achieve this amongst those at its heart, we proclaim the steward’s marvelling praise: Lord, ‘You save the best till last!’
In word and world we hear you cry:
The light of the world has come:
So let us shine
We lift up our eyes
To see your new world coming
And in doing justice
Proclaim the praise of the Lord
And so, we pray counter in and through us systems of despair and dread
With signs of love and peace.
Points for prayer
There was much political unrest in Nicaragua in 2018 which has given rise to many social and economic challenges in the country.
- Pray for protection and wisdom for our partners as they work to support and enable communities there.
- Give thanks for those who share their gifts and insights for the common good of all, such as our partner Adapta Nicaragua.
- Pray for their vision – to help 1,000 low-income producers of cocoa and honey in Nicuaragua – to be realised.
- May they enable these farmers to be less vulnerable to unpredictable weather and increase the productivity of their crops, leading to greater potential for investment.
Prayer points taken from our prayer diary
These weekly pointers have been provided by Rev Dr Peter Cruchley, the Mission Secretary for Mission Development at the Council for World Mission.
He's also a minister of the United Reformed Church in the UK, and a member of the Christian Aid worship and theology collective.