One time in home group we worked through Mark’s gospel reading a good chunk (like 3 chapters) and then considering it in the light of, well, whatever cropped up really. Without wanting to overstate it, this a great series – so much came out of our attempt to have a ‘first-time’ reading of it. The pace is remarkable.
So much of what Jesus said and did turned things upside down – the first are last, the untouchables are touched, the marginalized are heard, power structures are ignored. Marvelous.
In John’s gospel the first recorded miracle is the ‘water into wine’. You know how it goes. I have heard countless talks based on this story along the ‘Jesus likes a party’ and ‘Wine is good’ and ‘Jesus is bothered about our lack/embarrassment’ and so on and on. What struck me recently though was this verse:
“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”John 2:10
So, yes, here’s another example of Jesus reversing things – putting the tail before the head. The best last….
I got thinking about this because I am not as young as I was. I have realised that many of the things I set out to do I haven’t done. I was going to ride a bike across the USA. I wanted to ‘do something full-time’ in the church. I wanted to try hang gliding. And so on…. These ‘undone things’ stretch right across all the realms of my life. I am not despondent about this though – I have done things that I never dreamed I would, and had some great adventures along the way. And of course, I could still do them if I set my heart on them. Who knows?
As we get older there is a tendency for us to take a back seat in the ‘dreams’ department. I have seen this play out – older guys particularity can become somewhat disengaged with church life and matters of faith. It is not so much that they are less ‘involved’ but the expectation appears to be that ‘youth’ are the future, and that it is with the youth that God will act.
Of course, this is true . But on another level, as long as us ‘slightly older’ people are still alive we are the future too. For a long time I have said to myself ‘there must be something redemptive about getting old’ – because if there wasn’t it wouldn’t happen – nothing is wasted in Yahweh’s economy.
The fact that the best wine was served later at the wedding is Jesus fully displaying his counter-cultural attitudes. This is SO exciting and currently speaks to me that contrary to what society might imply, the best could still be yet to come.