Monday, February 10, 2014

Grape-colored Grace and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.
Some things to know:
1.  It's important to take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
2.  We are a safe place to be real.  I deeply cherish your involvement in the community.  Consider answering the question from "Let's get real" at the bottom of the post.
3.  Please be sure to check out our Woven with Love auction item at the end of the post!
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I've read the first part of the second chapter of John many times.  This is what I used to think:  There was this wedding at Cana.  Jesus was there.  They ran out of wine, so He miraculous made some more out of some water.  He was also slightly annoyed by His mother.  Oh, and His wine was really good.

End of story.

Oh, but there is so much more.  I never picked up on the symbolism tucked in the story, but the more I learn about John and his intentions for writing this gospel in this way, the more I realize there is a deeper story he wants me to grasp.  And maybe Jesus wants me to know He didn't speak to His mom in a rude voice.  (Because so often the English language just does not do the Greek intention justice.)

There are so many aspects to this story I had never thought twice about:

  1. The timing and location of the miracle.
  2. Jesus chose a wedding at which to start revealing more about His power.
  3. The fact that Jesus was at a family wedding.
  4. What was going through Mary's head when she asked Jesus for help?  Did she expect a miracle?  Could she even begin to grasp the heartache she would feel when she realized the fullness of when His hour would come?
  5. To run out of wine was to fail desperately in the realm of hospitality, which was no bueno in that culture.  In fact there is a Rabbinic saying that highlights the importance of wine quiet nicely: "Without wine there is no joy."  (Just to be clear, they aren't advocating drunkenness.)
(I created a whole sheet that helped my Bible study ladies dig into scriptural significance and insight into why the above aspects of this chapter are important. If you would like this reference sheet, just click here.)

But what hits me most about this story now that I have researched more is this:
There were 6 stone jars that each held between 20 and 30 gallons of water.  This water was used for the ceremonial hand washing required by their Jewish tradition
Did you know the number 6 in Jewish tradition symbolizes imperfection?

And Jesus turns that water in those imperfect, legalism-holding vessels into wine.  He took all the impurity, all the sin, all the dirt and grime that cloaks our souls stored in these stone jars and used this, yes this, to  make the best tasting wine.  Wine that is a symbol of the blood He shed for us when He died to free us from this imperfect law.

He didn't make just a little bit of it.  He made somewhere around 180 gallons of it.  Enough to get a whole village schnockered for a week.

And it was good.  The best gift.  One that made the Master of Ceremonies pause as this grape-colored grace touched his lips.

"You have saved the best until now."

God saved His best gift for last.  Jesus.  And through this miracle, we see Him taking the law in all its imperfection and pouring out something new.

Free, abundant grace.

Unearned.
Undeserved.
Miraculous.

And to think...this failure, the running out of wine, was necessary.  Our failure is necessary.  If we do not fail, we do not need Jesus.  Our failure gives Him something to transform.  And transform He does...into something far better than we could ever have imagined.

Let's get real: What failures might you have been holding onto, ones that make you feel guilt and shame?  And what if you saw those failures as things that were necessary so that Jesus might give you the best gift, Himself?

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Time for a bit of fundraising for the 3rd Annual Soli Deo Gloria Retreat!  Last week was such a success!  Thank you, Jody Collins, for bidding and winning!  Today, we have this lovely offering from Andrea: (Which I find amazing...instead of eggplant-colored, perhaps we can call it grape-colored.  And so here you have tangible, grape-colored grace around your neck! I do not think this is a coincidence!)
Some details: honeycomb knit infinity scarf, measures approximately 27 inches long, approximately 10 inches wide. Colour: eggplant. 100% acrylic.

A note about the auction's set-up:  Because I know everyone's budgets are different, I wanted everyone to be able to have a scarf and not lose because she was always outbid, hence the pledging.  Because we all deserve some tangible love around our shoulders, right?

How to participate in this silent auction:
1.  Click on "Place your bid." in the Rafflecopter widget below.
2.  Fill in the blank with the maximum you are willing to pay for this scarf, knowing ALL monies are going directly to the SDG Retreat.
3.  I'd be honored if you'd share this giveaway with your friends.  Not only is it a fundraiser, but I'd love for women to be physically covered by her sister's art!
4.  Next Monday, Rafflecopter will choose a winner and I will announce it at next week's SDG party.  Check or credit card will be accepted (I'm working on the credit card option. Stay tuned!) for payment and the scarf maker will mail the scarf to the winner after I have received the payment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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ANNOUNCEMENTS! ANNOUNCEMENTS!  
Are you a KNITTER or CROCHETER?  We need you to help with our 3rd Annual SDG Retreat Fundraiser.  Click here to get the details about Woven with Love.









Want to give a SOLDIER some love and encouragement? Do you know a soldier that could use a few extra prayers?  Fellow SDG sister, Beth, has created a webpage specifically dedicated to this here.  Please be sure to stop by, leave a request or a prayer, and bless a soldier today!




photo credit: mbgrigby via photopin cc (words added by Jen)

10 comments :

  1. Would you believe 6 is one of my favorite numbers? I like 3 and 6. I seriously love you just told me 6 symbolizes imperfection. Oh, what a simple detail that speaks volumes to my heart!

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  2. Grape-colored grace. That got me right there. Gonna take that with me... Thanks, Jen.

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  3. Oh, the beauty you have in you--Him in you--to turn everything around and to help us see. Thank you dear sister.

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  4. What Lisa said....'grape colored grace' just got me. I love what you're getting from the book of John, Jen.

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  5. I'll want to read this again and again. Especially: "Jesus turns that water in those imperfect, legalism-holding vessels into wine."
    What a gift you have. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

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  6. I have never heard it told like this. Even richer meaning - we are that dirty water made into wine when we are born again. Thank you for that.

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  7. I didn't realize the imperfection part - I love that, Jen.

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  8. Jen,
    I agree about failure because it shows us our desperate need for grace...assuming we can admit we've failed...blessings and thank you for the insights :)

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  9. Love this grace-filled post, thank you!!

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  10. Jen, this passage was part of the IF: Equip reading for this week -- we are reading through John as well.
    I love it how Jesus shows up with abundance and fresh life when we are at the end of our resources.

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