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The Discipline of Choosing Abundance

by The Rev Beth Knowlton on January 12, 2022

“Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” from John 2:1-11
 
As we continue this season of Epiphany, the lectionary jumps over to the Gospel of John for a miracle. This well-known narrative of Jesus changing water into wine can feel a bit supernatural if we are only thinking about the mechanics of the event. But the glory that is being revealed in this event is about increasing our belief in Jesus and deepening our knowledge of who he is to us. And that to me is a much broader invitation than simply looking for someone who can play around with the physics of our world. 
 
When I see the fullness of the story, I see Christ amidst an important but very ordinary community event. I see him understanding the importance of hospitality and making sure guests have what they need. And I see in the sheer quantity of what he transforms a commitment to abundance. To live abundantly is something that we have the ability to choose. We can adopt a posture of gratitude for all that we have, and that in fact makes us feel more grateful. There is that old saying that “if you carry a hammer with you everywhere, everything starts to look like a nail.” What is the spiritual equivalent if we are seeking abundance? I think it starts by reminding ourselves that Christ is already present in every encounter we have. The more I trust that knowledge, the less anxious and fearful I am. I have the resilience to engage in difficult conversations and tolerate my very real limitations as a human being. I also find that slowing down really helps. If I am racing around at a crazy pace, it is easy to miss the many signs of abundance all around me. The simplicity of really smelling and tasting our food can be nourishing in a way eating without thinking cannot. Simply saying please and thank you also reminds us that we encounter the holy in one another.
 
In this season of manifestation of God’s glory, I hope you have many occasions to give thanks and choose to live the abundant life God so desires for each one of us.

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