Make some room

“The most sacred invitation that a person can extend to us is to invite us into their pain. But that means that we have to choose to knock on a door that we often prefer to pretend is not there.”

― Craig D. Lounsbrough

John 2:1-11
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 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 10 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.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Dear Friends,

Real quick–I know that many of you are dealing with incredible challenges and that some of you are really struggling.

Just want you to know:

You are loved and you are not alone.
Please, if you are in need of connection, conversation, or just a listening ear–please reach out to someone. We are in this together.
…a word about a wine story?

Probably you’ve seen this story before. It’s one of Jesus’ “7 miracles” in the Gospel of John. This one is the first, and it’s pretty fun and dramatic. Jesus of Nazareth, having a grand old time at the wedding reception, discovers that there is about to be a wine shortage [OH NOOOOOOO] so he figures out a way to turn water into wine.

Well, that’s the short version.
There are a lot of things within this story to unpack, I’m just going to hone in on one thing:

In order to fill jars with wine, some of the original liquid [water] had to be poured out. To make room for the wine. Oh, and not just any wine–the best, finest wine.

Those water purification jars had to be emptied a bit to make room for the wine.

How about that for a human metaphor?
You and I are jars of clay, vessels, containers.
And in order to make room for the “good stuff” we will periodically need to empty out what’s already filling our vessels.

This is what Jesus of Nazareth offers us. Notice that it’s not an invitation to feel bad about the mistakes you’ve made or a judgmental statement about what you lack or how you fall short. No, this invitation is just to empty and make room. Empty yourself and make room. That’s all.

So how will make room for the good stuff to fill and restore you? There is great freedom in this, my friends. You don’t have to be what you were, you don’t have to define yourself by your past, and you get to welcome in something fresh that is meant to heal. 

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Josh grew up in the Midwest before completing a B.A. in Theatre at Northwestern College [IA] and a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ [UCC], Josh has lived and worked in the Midwest, East Coast, Hawai’i, and Mexico. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Welcome Project PA, host of the Bucks-Mont PRIDE Festival, and he is Pastor of Love In Action UCC, an open and affirming congregation featured in a Vox Media episode of Divided States of Women with Liz Plank and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Josh has 20+ years of nonprofit experience, including leading workshops and training in corporate, medical, and academic settings, focused on diversity & inclusion, grant writing, fund raising, and program management. Josh is a fellow of Interfaith Philadelphia, and designs and coordinates HS and University student groups for interfaith immersion service-learning weeks. Josh also co-facilitates Ally trainings for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and interfaith cooperation. He is a founding member of The Society for Faith & Justice, and a Collaborator for Nurturing Justice, and a member of the Driving PA Forward team via New Sanctuary Movement. He also performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, and has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in religious and secular settings. Josh also enjoys running, singing, traveling, learning languages, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philly.

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