There are many ways to read the Bible – straight through, like the church is doing, or reading some from the Old Testament and the New Testament every day, or even chronological – in the sequence it happened. One thing I have heard, though, is that you should always look for Jesus in whatever part of the Bible you’re reading.

So Jesus’ first miracle, turning the water into wine – let’s take a quick look at that.  We have a wedding, and His mother, and there’s Jesus.  Boom!  Found Him.  We’re done!!

But let’s look a little deeper.  Let’s look not just at what happened, but at what it could mean – the symbolism, the story behind the story.

Here’s what happened, on the surface.  While Jesus and His mother were at a wedding, the wedding ran out of wine for the guests. Mary urged Jesus to – essentially – “do something”.  From John 11, verses 6 through 10:

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.”

A good miracle – Jesus didn’t do any bad miracles – but what does it mean?  Helping the wedding reception, sure.  Deeper, though, the jars were for purification – for the Jews washing themselves.  Not cleaning up at the end of the day, but for becoming ritually pure. Jesus turned that water into wine – good wine, but still just something to drink.

Except that at the last supper, in Matthew 14:23 and 24,

Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks He gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

So at that wedding in Cana, Jesus took something that was external – the water for purification – and turned it into the wine that represented His own blood, that would be shed for the forgiveness of sins.  An internal cleansing.  The change that Jesus did *then* with the water and the wine, He would go on to make that change available for us.  Not external any longer, not legalistic and ritualistic, but internal and life-changing.  *That’s* where Jesus is found. And that’s what we are celebrating now.  Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Jesus was aware of what He was doing when He changed the water into wine – both the physical action and the meaning.  And He was aware of what He was doing by dying on the cross. Thank you for offering Him as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

I couldn’t find the music I wanted.  I knew that I had tons of albums ripped, and I wanted to play them on my nifty RasPi music player.  That’s good.

I couldn’t find them.  My music?  Nada.  I didn’t panic.  I didn’t think about it, intentionally.  I remembered that I had cleared up some space recently.  I have three disks in my PC, from various iterations of go-faster, and I don’t need three copies of Windows (do you know how many files are in your C:/Windows directory?  twenty-one thousand on mine.  Yikes!).  So I deleted some, recently.  And now I can’t find my music.  That would qualify as bad.

So tonight I used the Everything tool which showed me that I have around eleven thousand MP3s stashed under F:/Users/saubrey/Linux external/music.  Good.

But on the root of F: I have a file named “This is steel and rust.txt”  (vs. “This is silicon.txt” on other drives).  Not so good.  Thinking I’ll copy some files tonight.  That’s good.

We did attend the Mercy Me concert a few weeks ago, and yes, we did dance to Happy Dance.

And I’m happy dancing again – the Raspberry Pi music dealie is working. Digital sound out to the sound bar

Running Volumio, since Rune wouldn’t boot.

And my first song? What else?

My latest goofy thing is a music player connected to our TV’s sound bar, powered by a Raspberry Pi.

Tonight was assembly night.

Boxed:

The Hifiberry is a sound card that puts out digital audio. I’ll be using the RCA connector to the sound bar. Two different SD cards for different OS attempts.

Unboxed:

Assembled:

No power supply yet – that’s being delivered Wednesday. No operating system – leaning toward Rune. No content – I have a lot of ripped CDs, and a lot more to rip, and all to be copied to the 256gb external hard drive.

Hour and a half for assembly. Figure another hour for OS install and adding some tunes. Half hour for connecting and sound bar setup.

Then cranking the music.

I recently started working a side job, doing shopping and delivery for a grocery store. It is working out well so far – not retirement money, but lunch money.

When I’m in the store shopping, or doing the delivery to the customer, I wear a t-shirt over my regular clothes. It helps the store workers know that I’m different, and it advertises the brand to the other shoppers.

It’s interesting, too – I find that I’m consciously smiling more, being more respectful of people, being more careful about my driving.

Then when the delivery is over, I take off the t-shirt, and I’m back to being a regular citizen.

Except – except that this isn’t about being a shopper. Galatians 3:27 says “For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.”

Christ is not a t-shirt to be added to my outfit. He is not something that is put on and taken off like shoes. And we don’t have a tick box to decide whether we want Christ – the language “we have been clothed with Christ” is different than saying “I decided to put on Christ today”. We are not the ones doing the clothing.

So I have some thinking to do – not just about my side job, not about my 40-hour-a-week job, but about my 24 hour-a-day job, which is to be Christ to a world that needs Him.

As we take the wafer and drink the juice, remembering Christ’s perfect, sinless life, and the undeserved death that paid the price for our sins, let’s realize that being a disciple is not a side job. It’s our only job. Let’s pray.

Father God, we come to You clothed in Christ. We cannot stand in Your presence on our own merits. We are welcomed as brothers and sisters of Christ. What a wonderful gift for us, and what a terrible price for Him. Thank You for this perfect plan. In Jesus’ name, amen.

. . . fruit flies like a banana.  Thanks – I’ll be here all week.

Almost two years since my last update, and now there are seven prior entries. My collection, not my creations.

Oct 17: Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Nov 17: Youth is a quality, and if you have it, you never lose it

Dec 17: If you start with “Counting in binary 101”, you missed the first four classes

Jan 18: People are like teabags – you find out what they have inside when they are in hot water

Feb 18: Don’t mistake stability for stagnation, activity for progress, or change for innovation.

Mar 18: Knowledge is adding things. Wisdom is taking things away.

Apr 18: I hate eloquence. In fact, I hate all grey animals with large ears.

May 18: The “S” in IoT stands for security.

Jun 18: Acopia – Disease of the day – the inability to cope

Jul 18: Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money

Aug 18: Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little bit fewer

Sep 18: An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes

Oct 18: If Henry Ford had listened to his customers, he would have made faster horses

Nov 18: Every decision we make increases our momentum in the direction of that decision

Dec 18: The best you can do is tie the record for lowest flyby

Jan 19: It’s never wrong to do what’s right

Feb 19: Be humble or you’ll stumble

Mar 19: Just because you made a promise doesn’t mean I have to keep it for you.

Apr 19: Worrying is not thinking

May 19: Work is a scarce resource that should be used sparingly

Google is shutting down Inbox in favor of Gmail.

Nope.

In 1 Kings 4, verses 29 and 33, the Bible says “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls.” Now I understand Solomon talking about the cedar trees – tall, majestic, awe-inspiring. But a plant that grows where nobody plants it? That’s a weed. Why would the wisest man in the world talk about weeds?

I’m guessing it’s because he heard his daddy talking about it. King David said in Psalms 51:7 “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  Solomon wasn’t perfect, but he was a good learner.

But where did David hear about hyssop? From Moses. Exodus 12:21-23 “Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.”

That shedding of blood, saving the Israelites from their oppressors, was a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do on the cross, when He paid the penalty for our sins and saved us from Hell and eternal death. Let’s pray.

Father God, I am sorry that I sinned and caused the need for Jesus to die on the cross.  And because He gave His body and blood, which we celebrate now with the wafer and the juice, all of us can be welcomed in Your arms, and call You our daddy. None of us here on earth are perfect – Jesus was and is, but we are not. Thank You for offering to pay our way back into Your family through the sacrifice of Jesus.  In His name I pray, amen.

Here at Connections, we measure everything we do against the Bible. From how our leadership is organized to the way we allocate our money, from the songs that we sing to our VBS celebrations, everything is checked against the Bible. That doesn’t mean that we are restricted to only what is in there. Romans doesn’t mention inflatable bouncy houses, and James doesn’t include snow cones. But those things are tied to evangelism, and a snow cone isn’t too far from a cup of cold water.

The songs we sing are biblical, too, whether they include scripture or only include scriptural ideas. The hymn I’m going to read to you, “When I survey the wondrous cross”, was one of the first ones to have a biblical outlook without using only Bible verses. It doesn’t directly use Bible verses, but it is undeniably biblical. And it is true.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Let’s pray. Father God, we are remembering the sacrifice of Your only begotten Son Jesus. We are commemorating His death on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins. His perfect and sinless blood – as the song says, “Sorrow and love flow mingled down” – does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. As we take the wafer and the juice, representing Jesus’ body and blood, help us to remember, constantly and continually. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

 

Offering meditation

That song has another verse, one that is still biblical without using Bible verses. And it is appropriate for the time when we collect the offering. The thing is, though, that it isn’t just about dropping money into a plate. It’s about a mindset, about how you live and how you see the world. The offering plate is a part of it, but it goes so much farther.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Again, there isn’t a Bible verse in there, but that is so biblical in its ideas and implications that there is support for it throughout the whole Bible.

Let’s pray. Lord God, we don’t own the world. You have made us stewards, caretakers, of some little part of it. And no matter how fat our wallet is, how many entries in our bank account, it isn’t our money that You want – it’s us, wholly and completely. And when we have given ourselves to You, what we put in the plate is a reflection of that amazing love Jesus has for us. Bless this offering, I pray, the envelopes, the givers, and the donation of lives to You.

In Jesus’ name, amen.