Sunday morning was especially cold. There were bright objects in the South-east sky that I want to find out about and identify. I thought I read something about Venus and Jupiter going into conjunction, but whatever they are they took my breath away almost as well as the – 20 temperatures . On the way to church at Crystal to the west, the moon set like the sun does and laid on the horizon like a piece of hot blown orange glass. It was an impressive morning and almost worth getting out of bed when it is that cold. As someone said life does have it’s compensations.
At 8:30 I was well into my sermon on the wedding at Cana in Galilee and the Savior turning the water into wine when my mother called me. I knew it was her because it showed up on my Apple watch even though my phone was out in the freezing car. That is at least to me a terrifying thing. Nothing ever good happens on a call at three in the morning and I can’t think of anything good that could be happening if my mother calls when she knows I’m in church on a Sunday morning and will be in church for most of the rest of the day. I told people later that the physical reaction is like the weather. I felt like the that cold had lodged in my stomach and that feeling of anxiety is really remarkable. Sunday morning,8;30 calls from 85 year old mothers can’t be good. I finished my sermon and went out to the car during the
offering and called my mother and their was no newer. That makes things worse of course. Now the questions are really jumping around and the anxiety level rises. I kind of hurried through the rest of the service and rushed out and headed for Drayton calling again and finally having my mother answer the phone and explain to me that nothing was wrong but that it was my fault because I bought her a phone that
doesn’t work. She got up, wanted to check the temperature, and instead of telling her that it was 20 below that mean phone decided to call me instead. She tried to stop the call but it was too late.
So between services and to get my blood pressure down I started to think about the incident and my reaction and the sermons emphasis upon the extravagant grace and mercy of God. An extravagance at 180 gallons of fine wine and an over abundance of grace that saves the whole world and a world of sinners from beginning to end and claims even me. An extravagance of love that claims us in baptism and crowns our life with good things and allows us to take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. Rather than paying for our sins we pay our vows to the Lord in thanksgiving and praise in the presence of all his people. As my father said not long before he died, whatever happens to me, I’m ok. Why the anxiety and the panic at a call in the morning? Why the handwringing and craziness? Because that is the way we are wired. Jesus mother’s reaction to the lack of wine at a wedding reception that she had been invited to, but technically had no investment in, is a perfect picture of all of us. She was upset at the lack of wine because the hosts would be embarrassed and she would be embarrassed in that position and so – do something. What Jesus was supposed to do was an open question. What am I supposed to do if something happened to my mother early on a Sunday morning and I am 100 miles away? Do something but what. Weigh that against a Savior that does all things well and says cast all your cares on me for I care about you and where do we come down? Usually on the care and worry side. People who put too much trust in God are kooks you know.
So I incorporated that incident in my sermon just before the end and left off at the point where I called her back and she didn’t answer and I rushed through the service. I ended the sermon as is appropriate with the extravagant grace of God. Service ended I made my announcements and started to go and greet and I was a bit surprised at all the shouts of “what happened to your mother?” The same thing happened at the next service. The need to know, as someone joked with me later, the “rest of the story” is intractable. I have decided to do this in future sermons. I will lay out some scenario and not tell the end. Then I will tell everyone if they want to know the rest of the story they have to come back next week. The problem with this idea is that true Christians already know the rest of the story. We know what happens at the end. Extravagant grace.