An epiphany at Cana

Photo by Margot Krebs Neale

The set readings for this third Sunday of Epiphany tell the story of  ‘the first of the signs that Jesus did and manifested forth his glory’; the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana. (John 2:1-11). I love this miracle, though John doesn’t call it a miracle, he rightly calls it a sign. It is a sign that points to so many profound and liberating things about the God whom Jesus reveals to us; His delight in and concern for our own personal life and loves, attested by His presence at the wedding feast, His abundant generosity in more than meeting our needs in the midst of everyday life, His call to us to move from the mere outward purity, symbolised by the water for ritual washing, to a transformation of inward joy, symbolised by the wine. But most importantly,  this sign points to the gift of His very self, His own heart’s blood, given once for all on the cross and received by us in communion. I have tried to bring out a little of the richness and depth of this first ‘sign’ in the following sonnet. This and my other sonets for the Christian year are published together by Canterbury Press as Sounding the Seasons; seventy sonnets for the Christian Year.’

You can get this book in the UK by ordering it from your local bookshop, or via Amazon, and I am vey happy to say that both this and my other poetry books The Singing bowl  and Parable and Paradox are now available in North America from Steve Bell who has a good supply in stock. His page for my books is HERE

As always you can hear the sonnet by clicking the ‘play’ button if it appears or by clicking on the title of the sonnet itself

Epiphany at Cana

Here’s an epiphany to have and hold,
A truth that you can taste upon the tongue,
No distant shrines and canopies of gold
Or ladders to be clambered rung by rung,
But here and now, amidst your daily  living,
Where you can taste and touch and feel and see,
The spring of love, the fount of all forgiving,
Flows when you need it, rich, abundant, free.

Better than waters of some outer weeping,
That leave you still with all your hidden sin,
Here is a vintage richer for the keeping
That works its transformation from within.
‘What price?’ you ask me, as we raise the glass,
‘It cost our Saviour everything he has.’

It cost our Saviour everything he has


Filed under imagination, Poems

12 responses to “An epiphany at Cana

  1. Thanks for the tasting. Cheers!

  2. I have been thinking about the wedding that Pope Francis conducted in the plane flying over the Andes. No questions asked about whether the cabin was consecrated or not, ubi caritas ibi deus est. Duly acknowledged, your poem will be a part of my sermon tomorrow morning.

  3. Cheryl

    Beautifully deep but simply accessible.

  4. Christine Smith

    Fantastic help for preaching this Sunday, Malcolm. Thank you!


    Sent from my iPhone

  5. bgulland72

    Yes, lovely reflection and image. I’ll certainly consider your book as a gift for a friend and/or myself…
    If you’ll permit my light take on some dialogue in the story:

    Jesus’ mum: “They have no wine.”
    Jesus: “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
    Jesus’ mum to servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”

    I think she could have reasonably prefaced that last line with: “Jeez, son. I was only saying”.
    If that’s not too irreverent 🙂

  6. Roy Rashbrook

    Hello Malcolm,

    I would love to be allowed to write a choral setting of this poem (not that it needs music to complete it – it strikes me as pretty complete already). I have sent you an email. Here’s hoping . . .

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