Isaiah 62: 1-5
Psalm 36: 5-10
1 Corinthians 12: 1-11
John 2: 1-11
“Zion, The Bride”
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
In many religions the gods are far removed, living in their Castles and Mountains and Domains where no mortal flesh generally exist. Humanity and the gods of their imagination were separated; Gods in their domain and humans their mortal realms. This is a figment of the human imagination for how else can you explain the divine that you cannot see? Human reason which guides their made-up religions has led many easily dissatisfied worshippers into assuming that these fantastical beings obviously reign in a foreign environment, for why else would we be unable to see them? The relationship between them and their gods was not intimate. I mean, how could it? How can you be intimate with that which does not exist? There is no long lasting unceasing close relationship with their far removed gods.
Now some of you may realize that what I just said may sound familiar, for this is also a slanderous argument used against Christians by those who lack faith and are thus blind to the Truth. And what is this Truth? That God is not far removed. He does not live solely in some alabaster castle or behind closed gates. He is here, and as proof, just look at the Communion elements; that is truly and physically his Body and his Blood. So He is not far removed. But to the unbeliever, who lacks faith and is thus blind to reality, all they see is bread and wine. They are
incapable of seeing God, and thus their view of us, similar to our view of those who worship dumb idols and false gods.
The thing is God indeed has a very close and intimate relationship with His people. If you look at the first several books of the Old Testament, starting with Exodus, God was physically present with his people through the ark that traveled with them. God was amongst us in those early days as we walked with us, traveling with us, from camp to camp. And even when they settled, all he asked for was a tent, just like everyone else. He wanted to be close, easily accessible, and not far off. God was not to be like some lofty Lord who had serfs appointed under him but dared not ever mingle with such filthy troglodytes. He was not like some prince who lorded himself over the common rabble expecting praise for prides-sake. God is King, He is Lord, but He was not like these lords. Instead he was a King whose people were more like family than servant.
His people Zion, were not mere worshippers, but was his beautiful bride. God had so much love for his bride, of whom he adored, that he adorned her with a royal diadem, a crown of beauty, and brilliance that caused kings to glorify her. Zion, His wife, was like a Cedar tree placed on the highest mountain for all to see. Zion, a people truly blessed by God.
How could anyone say that the Lord is far off when He is so obviously close to a people that he is literally married to? Now Zion in of itself is not beautiful, nor is she the cause of her own righteousness. Zion in of herself is not worthy of praise, nor is there anything particularly special about her. Yet, the Lord God
chose her and makes it so that she was more beautiful than anyone and anything. It is the Lord God who made her righteous and brilliant and like a burning torch that brightens a darkroom. It is the Lord God who is the source of her salvation, who purifies and presents as purified. Kings don’t bow down to Zion for anything particularly of Zion, for what can Zion produce that is worthy of praise from earthy kings? But Kings do bow down to Zion regardless for they see the glory of God present behind Zion.
They see the blessings of the Lord showered upon Zion. They see her kindness, her boldness, her unwavering faith, her might. They see all this, and the arm of God being the source of all these blessings. Thus the nations bow down in fear and awe for Lord God stands with Zion as Husband and wife.
They see her beauty, but know that Zion, in of herself, is not particularly beautiful. They see a beauty that can only be achieved through the intervention of the Almighty. The crown she wears is not of earthy beauty and significance, but is a divine crown gifted by the King of Kings Himself; a divine crown which has beauty and significance that far surpasses anything of the earth. How can anyone claim that God is far off when the obvious splendor of God is as clear as the eye can see?
But who is Zion? Is Zion Jerusalem? Is Zion Israel? Is Zion Judaism? Zion is the people of God. All who have faith in Him and have received the inheritance of Heaven through faith in the Son which comes from the Holy Spirit is Zion. The Church is Zion. And Jesus is her Bridegroom.
Now as a disclaimer, I am not preaching a Gospel of prosperity, of earthly wealth, but am merely saying that those who have eyes to see would see that God does indeed bless his people with more lofty and divine things for He is not only our King, but is also our bridegroom.
His love for us surpasses all understanding that whenever we turn from evil but then turn towards Him He rejoices and all the heavenly hosts sing alleluia. You know the parable of the prodigal Son; that is a story reflective of someone who turns away from God, who ruins their life, who realizes the love of God, who returns thinking he does not deserve to be recognized only to receive the finest of feasts. The Father is torn apart whenever we leave his life-giving presence, the source of our beauty and righteousness, and thus He is overjoyed whenever we turn back to Him. He is like a lovesick fiancé who finds out his soon-to-be wife has ran away with someone else, who continuously sends letters to her about his unconditional love, who organizes the wedding regardless, and then breaks down in tears of joy as he sees his bride running down the aisle on the wedding day asking for forgiveness.
His love for us surpasses all understanding that He is even willing to rewrite the Laws of Nature all so that He can provide us with miracles. Many of you know of or have been the recipient of these miracles: an incurable disease disappearing; a turning from a sinful life style; an impossible event happening; a happy providential “coincidence”; a prayer heard.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus went so far to rewrite physics all so he can miraculously transform water into wine; wine, an incredibly important thing for weddings, and always a tragedy if spoiled or lacking. When the wine ran out, it was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who came to Him and said, “They have no wine.” She’s practically ordering Jesus to make more wine, for she knows the truth about her son. And Jesus knew her implied message, a demand to perform a miracle, which is why He said, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Yes, I see there is no wine, why are you telling me in particular that unless you are implying that I do something about it? My time has not come yet, when it does then I’ll do a miracle. Then the audacity of His mother who told a servant, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Honor thy parents. Jesus loved his mother so much, that even though it was not his time, he performed his first miracle; turning water into wine. He couldn’t say no to her. He rewrote the Laws of Nature simply because his mother commanded him, though implied, to produce more wine. And isn’t fitting that his first miracle was done at a wedding, and done so that the wedding feast would be fantastic? This and communion, are both foretastes for the even grander feast in heaven that is prepared for all us, a feast for the wedding between the Church and her King.
His love for us, his precious bride, surpasses all
understanding that he willingly gave up everything to save us. A true husband protects the honor of his wife, and would go through thick and thin to make sure that she is always provided for and is safe. Many Soldiers, police officers, firemen, willingly give up their
lives not merely for the sake of country, but for the sake of their family. There are Soldiers who carries pictures of their wives on them as a reminder of why they are doing what they are doing. According to John 15:13, to lay down your life for the sake of a
friend or family is the greatest form of love. The Love of Christ for his bride, the Church, surpasses all understanding that he willingly allowed himself to be taken, slandered, brutally attacked, humiliated, and suffered one of the most painful of deaths. He allowed all of this, for just as Satan alluded to during the Temptations, all Jesus had to do is cry for help and angels would lift him up. He allowed all of this, because he knew the end result, and desired this end result. For through his death, he forgave us all our sins by taking on our sins and went to Hell so that we won’t have to go to Hell as a result of our sinfulness.
He saved us, and he did that because He is not just our King but also the Church’s ever faithful and loving bridegroom.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, as we take Jesus into our bodies through the Eucharist, help us remember that this is a foretaste of the overwhelmingly gracious Wedding feast that awaits us eternally in Heaven. In your holy name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.