Sarah and Josh really wanted to take us back to the Epiphany reading we’d missed (because we’d celebrated Candlemas a bit early) I have no idea why they were so keen to look at water into wine. As always the evening started with coffee and cake (thanks Kim for the amazing Korean rice cake) before Josh introduced the evening and pointed us to a set of cards on the table that guided us through the session.
The texts from the cards read:
Task 1 – Get into groups of 2 or 3. From memory, retell the story of Jesus turning water into wine (John 2). DON’T BE A CHEAT.
What do you think are the most important points? Write these on the flipchart paper on the wall.
The group I was with worked hard to remember the text. We had some clear memories of the story but we struggled to get all the details spot on – we were a bit mean with the amount of water/wine involved and we did the chief steward out of a job! It was great seeing what others had remembered (and forgotten)
Task 2 – Read John 2:1-11. In your small group reflect on what you remembered from memory and what was actually said in the text. What do you think the main point of the text was?
Does your opinion of the text change after knowing the following…?
- Weddings were sometimes a week long affair.
- Running out of wine was a social faux-pas.
- This was Jesus’ first miracle according to John.
We had a really interesting discussion about wedding traditions, social conventions, generosity. We were struck by the fact Jesus didn’t physically do anything – no touching or holding, or taking, blessing, breaking & giving. There were just instructions to the servants to do things.
Task 3 – As a whole group, let’s reflect on the following questions:
- When telling each other the story from memory – what surprised you? What did you remember of forget?
- What parts of the story stand out to you?
- Does anything confuse you about the story?
- Why is Jesus’ response to his mum surprising?
- What does the story tell us?
Task 4 – On the first piece of flipchart paper, you wrote down what you thought the most important part of the reading was from memory.
On the second piece of flipchart paper – after reflecting – what do you think the most important part of the reading is now? Has your opinion changed?
We realised that a sense of compassion came through the story – those getting married were faced with public embarrassment because of their lack of wine budget. We also realised that we had all forgotten the final phrase ‘the disciples believed in him’ and with it had fallen into the trap of enjoying the wine and not spotting the true purpose of its provision.
To finish our evening we were treated to a wine tasting – two red wines (a basic in a plastic bottle and something from a supermarket fine wine selection) were given out for us to taste. Most of us found it difficult to work out which wine was which. Maybe too much cake dulls the palate!
It’s been a while since we used ‘remembered Bible‘. I had forgotten how insightful it could be.