I sense tension. She simply pointed out that there was no wine. But I bet he heard: “It’s time you got off your duff and did something!” Parental nudging towards maturity is a delicate and tricky business that requires sensitive pacing and a thick skin. In our Corinthians reading Paul talks about spiritual gifts—those talents, skills and abilities given by God and activated by the Holy Spirit for service to the world. As a parent, other than providing a secure and loving home, our greatest mandate is to see and encourage the blossoming of our children’s gifts and abilities. But I know I am constantly asking myself if I am pushing too hard or not hard enough. Am I imposing my own unprocessed past and are my motivations as pure as I hope? Discerning gifts in those we love really does require the discipline of self-reflection since, in truth, we stand to either benefit or be adversely affected by the manifestation of those gifts. Jesus as miracle worker or carpenter was bound to directly affect Mary’s future plans.
Paul tells us that everyone has been given spiritual gifts, that all gifts are given by God and that no one gift is better or more valuable than another. Do we believe this? I know my spiritual journey has involved coming to the realization that there are some gifts that are simply out of my reach and no matter how much I may yearn for something different, I need to accept who I am, which includes both my gifts and my limitations. To do otherwise just ends up hurting too much.
And in some way, it is all about seeing abundance, isn’t it—whether in the gifts we or our children or other loved ones have been given. As our psalmist poetically says: “Your love reaches the heavens.” At Cana it wasn’t just a bottle of wine. It was 180 gallons of great wine! If you want to know when you are living into and through your particular spiritual gifts, then look for signs of abundance—a love and passion that goes beyond imagining. What brings forth joy, celebration, fecundity and capaciousness, for you? Follow that and you will find self; follow that and you will find God, too.
There are layers upon layers to our motivations. Many I know or sense and many remain deeply hidden. In the quiet of my time with God this week I will ask for divine loving insight. What do I truly and deeply want and yearn for? What are my spiritual gifts and the spiritual gifts of my loved ones? Help me, God, see and bring forth those gift in myself and others. What do I not want, or are not ready, to see?
JOHN 2:1-11 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 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.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-11 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.