Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 23, John 2, Job 41, and 2 Corinthians 11

John 2By Kelli Gotthardt

My wedding day was a bit disappointing. Not the getting married part. That was fantastic. But the celebration part fell short of my expectations. Nothing dramatic really. Just a series of little mishaps and miscommunications that led to a stressful day which ended too quickly and not soon enough at the same time. Most of it stemmed from the toxic combination of my poor planning skills and a frightfully low budget.

I do wish Jesus would have performed a miracle at my wedding. Wine would have been wonderful. Although, it would have gotten us kicked out of our reception facility on the church property.

And this brings us to Jesus and weddings and wine. This very first miracle of Jesus has plenty of theological significance and is pregnant with meaning. But this week I simply sat next to Jesus at the wedding and enjoyed him. In my imagination, that is.

Years ago I was leading a group of women I worked with in an exploration of Christian spirituality. We met weekly to read the Bible and talk about Jesus. Few identified themselves as Christians and those who did had limited knowledge of the Bible. When we read about the wedding at Cana I asked for their observations.

One of the women piped up quickly, “Jesus partied!” The look on her face was of deep admiration. Another chimed in on the same theme. “People were drunk and Jesus brought more wine! That’s blowing my mind.”

Leave it to my group of friends to pick up on this.

I could have pointed out this was not the point of the miracle or spent time explaining the cultural context or demonstrating that Jesus was not ‘partying’ at the wedding in the same way they understood it. But they weren’t wrong. Jesus was at a party where people were getting drunk and he created more wine. And it was important to these women. I watched as each of them moved just a little closer toward Jesus that day. Not because of the alcohol. No, it was deeper than that. Maybe it was summed up in the last comment I received.

“Jesus seems so non-judgmental. That’s not how I find most Christians.”

Me either. Myself included. Sometimes I take myself too seriously. Sometimes I focus on being right above being the right person. Sometimes I simply don’t love. And that was never true of Jesus. He always loved.

He always loves.

As I watched Jesus at the wedding this week (once again–in my imagination) I observed how he looked at people and gave them his full attention. How he would throw back his head in laughter when the father of the groom told a joke and smile affectionately at the little girls as they pretended it was their wedding day.

I love that he was enjoying life. Engaging in a celebration. Laughing and eating and drinking. How he saw a need and with no apparent effort made everything better. For the sake of joy and celebration.

After years of not being able to attend a wedding without post traumatic stress, Jesus redeemed my experience. At the wedding of my brother and sister-in-law I got a picture of how Jesus celebrates. It was an outdoor wedding at a beautiful resort. The perfectly manicured lawn laid out like a welcome mat for the sun setting behind the mountains. As the music began to play all heaven seemed to be smiling with us.

And when the bride walked down the aisle I could feel the joy of Jesus as he awaits his bride, the church. But while he waits, he continues to love and laugh and enter into our messy lives. I love this Jesus.

photo by permission – Kelli Campbell

Today’s Question: Where do you see Jesus bringing joy and celebration into your messy life?

KelliG_200Kelli Gotthardt is a writer, speaker, and consultant. She has spent most of her career in the corporate world, but God is now directing her into full-time ministry. Her current focus is women’s issues and she travels nationally and abroad helping women leaders develop life rhythms that will increase their capacity to listen, lead, and love. Kelli is a frequent blogger and a contributor to Christianity Today. She finds renewal in silence and solitude and exercise like running, yoga, and paddle boarding on the ocean. She has been married to Richard for 24 years, and they live in Santa Cruz, CA, where he is a pastor. They have three teenagers and are adjusting to the new reality of having a son away at college. You can learn more about her at KelliGotthardt.com.

Related posts:

Pain Must Have Its Place - Psalm 119
God is in the Mess - Genesis 38
I'll Be With You - Exodus 3
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2 Comments

  1. “Sometimes I take myself too seriously. Sometimes I focus on being right above being the right person. Sometimes I simply don’t love. And that was never true of Jesus. He always loved. He always loves.”

    MAN, God has totally been hitting me with this again and again over the last few weeks. Sadly I so often have loved “truth” in the abstract at the expense of loving people, or loving Jesus who is Himself THE Truth. Thanks for giving me one more reminder and push to lean into this hard lesson to learn!

  2. I love this Jesus, too! Thanks for this, Kelli.

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