No Longer Forsaken

2019-01-20 – Year C – Epiphany 2 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2:1-11

  • The city of Pittsburgh, PA was known for the longest time as a steel town.
  • Lots of steel mills, lots of pollution.
  • Businessmen would bring an extra collar to work and change at lunchtime.
  • Rivers were polluted and toxic. Much of the wildlife, especially fish, had died.
  • In the 80’s, the steel mills began to close and the economy tanked.
  • Many people still think of Pittsburgh as a dirty and depressed city, but it has changed a lot over the last 20 years, today it is clean, its industries have shifted, and its economy is growing.
  • In recent years Pittsburgh has been ranked near the top on a number of lists of “best places to live” in the United States.
  • Bald Eagles are coming back.

Forsaken to Delight

  • Isaiah describes the nation of Israel in similar terms to the way people have thought of Pittsburgh. Forsaken and Desolate.
  • This term forsaken had to do with the exile of the People of Israel to Babylon.
    • Cities were destroyed, people were killed, hope was lost.
    • These outward signs of being forsaken were symptoms of being spiritually forsaken. The people were wayward, they ran after other gods, and they had forsaken the Lord.
  • Isaiah speaks these words in a section filled with hope, because of what the anointed one will do. Partially fulfilled in the return from exile, but even more so when Christ comes.
    • Isaiah 62:4 “You shall no more be termed Forsaken”
    • the people shall now be called “My delight is in her.”
    • This speaks to the tremendous change in their lives because of the favor of the Lord. It also speaks to the change in our lives when we turn to Jesus.

Desolate to Married

  • Another way this favor is described is with the image of marriage. Isaiah 62:4
    • “Your land shall no longer be termed Desolate”
    • Your land shall be called “Married”
  • Isaiah 62:5 “As a bridegroom rejoices over the bride…”
    • Looking back on my own marriage, almost 14 years ago, Carrie will tell you that I cried tears of joy for three straight days.
    • I was so delighted to be marrying this woman whom God had brought into my life. I’m still delighted!
    • This is the same exuberance that the Lord has when he looks upon his people. When he looks upon us!
  • In the Gospel of John, we see that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding.
    • John 2:11 this sign “manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.”
    • This is why we look at this story in the season of Epiphany.
  • The context of the miracle says something important.
    • Jesus could have picked any number of settings for his first miracle, but he chooses a wedding.
    • Why? Because marriage is one of the most important images of God’s love.

Profound Mystery

  • Marriage is the first sacrament instituted in the Bible
    • It predates even the Old Covenant!
    • It begins when God brings Adam and Eve together and proclaims Genesis 2:24.
    • “Almighty God established the bond and covenant of marriage in creation as a sign of the mystical union between Christ and his Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and it is commended by Holy Scripture to be held in honor among all people.”
  • Ephesians 5:32 speaking of the one-flesh union. “This mystery is profound…”
    • Both healthy marriages and struggling marriages are signs to the world of Christ’s relationship to his bride, the Church.
    • Healthy marriages demonstrate the mutual love and submission described in Ephesians 5.
    • Struggling marriages, perhaps even more, demonstrate God’s resolve to love us even when we are unlovable, just like Hosea’s love for his straying wife.
  • Icona Mistero Grande
    • Husband and wife are bending towards each other
    • Their eyes face outward to draw others in. Marriage is a ministry to others, especially through raising both familial and spiritual children.
    • The Holy Spirit unites them, this is in God’s strength
    • Christ and the church are pictured above the couple showing that the marriage of the couple points to the greater reality of Christ’s love for the Church.
  • So Christ’s first miracle at the wedding at Cana manifests his glory, but marriage itself also manifests the beautiful truth about Christ and his Church.

You are Loved

  • No matter how far you have run from God, no matter how distant you might feel right now, you are loved.
  • If you feel desolate and forsaken right now, know that God longs to call you his delight!
  • When you are ready to stop running, God will be right there behind you to embrace you when you turn to him.

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