Speak Up For Others
Opening Question: When have you spoken up? What happened?
First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
Jeremy hummed away to his Ipod. His head bobbed back and forth to a beat in his head. If he wasn't wearing a safety belt, his grandfather knew he would have squirmed our of the passenger seat.
Jeremy looked up and pulled the ear bud from his right ear. "Grandpa, you should have turned right back there."
"Don't worry, Jeremy. I know the way to the soccer field."
"No, Grandpa. That was the way."
"Relax, Jeremy. I know where we're going."
Jeremy pulled the other ear bud away and placed his hands on hips next to the seat belt. He frowned. "Grandpa."
"We're going to turn right at the next intersection, okay?" his grandfather said.
Jeremy still frowned.
When they turned right, Jeremy noticed a sign that said, "Not a through street." He heard his grandfather say "Opps" under his breathe.
"It looks like we're going to have to turn around, eh, Jeremy?" His grandfather wore a sheepish smile.
Sometimes we need to speak up. Sometime we need to point out when others are wrong. The author of Isaiah needed to speak up, just like Jeremy, but he spoke up to a people who were depressed. They lived in a half-built city; some of them were tired, others wanted to give up. The author said "NO!" God didn't want them to lag or to give up. God would make them glorious again. They would live in a proud city. They would live in God's city.
God doesn't want us to lag or to give up when things get tough. He wants us to be proud of him. He wants to help us, even when we are down. Will we let him help us?
Bridging Question: What does it take to help someone feel better? What does it take to help someone see beyond their hurt feelings?
Gospel: John 2:1-11
Three days after Jesus invited Nathaniel to follow him, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus attended. Jesus and the few followers he had were also invited.
When the wine ran out, Jesus' mother told him, "They don't have any wine left."
"Mother, don't get me involved in their problem," Jesus said. "My time has not come yet."
The mother of Jesus turned to the servants and said, "Do whatever he tells you to do." Six large stone containers sat there. Each container held between twenty and thirty gallons. Jews used containers like these to wash themselves before they prayed to God.
"Fill up the pots with water," Jesus told the servants. They brought and poured in enough water to fill all the containers to the brim. "Now draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the wedding," Jesus said. And they did.
The man in charge did not know where the wine came from, but the servants did. After he tasted the water turned into wine, the man in charge called the bridegroom over to talk. "Hosts usually serve their guests the expensive wine first." he said. "Then, after everyone has had a few glasses of wine, they serve everyday wine. But you have kept the expensive wine until now."
Jesus did his very first sign at the wedding in Cana. There, he revealed who he really was, and his followers placed their trust in him.
Nobody on her soccer team was talking to Sophie. Late in the first half, the score was 1-1 in a very emotional game. Defending the goal, Sophie ran up to kick the ball out of the goalie box. But the ball spun the wrong way, right into the goal. Sophie accidently scored for the opposing team. And fighting fire went right out of Sophie's team.
During half time, the coach did her best to pump up the team's spirits, but to no avail. The second half, the opposing team went on the attack, but just could not score. But everyone felt it was just a matter of time before they did score.
Sophie sat on the bench, depressed and ignored by her team mates. Suddenly, the coach sat down beside her and began to talk. "Sophie," the coach said, "what would the game be like if the ball had spun the other way?" At first, Sophie didn't say anything. But the coach didn't give up. Finally, Sophie answered, "We would be winning." "Sophie, that's why I want you to go in as a forward," said the coach. "But I've always been a defender!" Sophie protested.
It was too late. The coach stood up and, a moment later, Sophie's team had a throw in. The referees stopped play and allowed for substitutions. The coach signaled to Sophie to go in. As see walked onto the field, Sophie looked back to see the looks on her team's faces. They were as shocked as she was!
During play, the coach ignored everyone else but Sophie; it was as if Sophie had a personal coach. The coach yelled praises to all her moves and even found the good in her mistakes. But the coach did not give up on Sophie. Soon, kick after kick, play after play, Sophie found her spirits lifted; she was beginning to have some fun, running and playing. And, as Sophie's spirits began to change, so did the team's. Other members on the team began to compliment Sophie on her play.
The half was going better, but the score was still tied 1-1 and time was running out. Coach was making her last substitutions, and she called Sophie out. Suddenly the most unexpected thing happened. At once, Sophie's team mates began to tell the coach, "Leave Sophie, leave her in!" The coach gave in to their requests and waved Sophie back onto the field. Sophie took the thrown in, faked the defender, and ran toward the goal kicking the ball all the way. All she could see was the goalie, when some yelled, "Man on!" Sophie stopped the ball as the defender overran the ball. Sophie quickly kicked the ball; the ball sailed through the arms of the diving goalie and into the net of the goal. For a second, she could believe what just happened. She had never played like that in her life! But from the cheers of her coach and team mates, Sophie realized it was true; she won the game!
Mary, Jesus' mother, realized the people would run out of wine and the party would end too soon. The bride and groom would be sad to see their friends leave and their family disappointed. She wanted the fun to continue. So, she told Jesus to help.
But Jesus wanted people to see more than a good time. He wanted people to see what God could do. Like Sophie's coach, Jesus wanted to change the people attitudes, the way they looked at their lives. He wanted the people to see they could trust God. And everything would turn out.
With the coach's help, Sophie changed. With Jesus' help, we can change, too.
Closing Question: How can you help others see God in their lives? How can you help others trust in God?