“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” -John 2:10
Less than two weeks ago, we gave our daughter Lauren away in marriage to a wonderful young man. Planning, replanning and pulling off a wedding during the COVID crisis in the Philadelphia metro area was nothing less than monumental.
As a father of a young bride, I wanted to fulfill her dream for the wedding she always imagined. But an unseen evil battled us at every turn trying to undermine our best laid plans. Many late night conversations were filled with tears and disappointment over the course of the months leading up to that July evening.
Thankfully, we were able to persevere! And by the grace of God, with the aid of family and friends, a wonderful ceremony happened, blessing Lauren, her finance ‘Sean, and the family members that attended socially distanced.
Celebrations are important; especially weddings. The joy and glow on the faces of a young couple in love. The dreamy fixation in their eyes as they glance toward a future together as one. A congregation watching love embodied. And sacred vows recited to bind two lives together as one!
Weddings are important. They remind us of what’s good in life and they point us beyond our world to a hope, love and salvation that comes from above. Marriage is one of the images God uses to help us understand His desire for relationship with us.
John 2 Reflections
As I reflected on my daughter’s wedding, I was drawn to a similar affair when Jesus attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. The wedding party in John 2, also faced a potential debacle. They were running out of wine for their celebration and guests. Being that Cana was a small village, the bride and groom’s family would have invited everyone to attend. To run out of wine at such an affair, would have left this couple and their parents in a state of shame before their neighbors and relatives. But Jesus rescues.
I love how John tells the story. He fills it with illustration and signposts that might go unnoticed if you read it hurriedly. We’re told that this first miracle of Jesus at the beginning of gospel, happened on the third day of the week! What else happened on the third day of the week in the end of his book? Answer- An empty tomb with resurrection, and victory over sin and death! This is a foreshadowing of things to come! The first and last miracle in John’s Gospel are tethered together in deep meaning.
Why six jars like the ones used for ceremonial cleaning? Because Jesus takes vessels used for the religious rigidity of the day, and fills them with a new wine! Could He be pointing to Himself as the way, truth and life that replaces the cold systems of religious legalism? The wedding of Cana is John’s first signpost in a series that point us to God’s love bursting into our world. The Gospel comes near in Jesus. Hope incarnate. Fullness of love embodied in the flesh.
We need weddings because they point us to Jesus, and His desire for a loving relationship that is lasting and transcends time and space.
Early Spring, I wondered if we should postpone the entire affair for a year and marry them with parents only present. I am glad we pressed on. While we curtailed the guest list to family only, I am thankful that we worked creatively to make it a memorable day despite the challenges posed by COVID.
I was reminded of God’s redemptive love through the illustration of my daughter’s wedding. I needed to see hope and grace press on in the darkness, and not be overcome! We all need these glimpses of God’s ongoing work from time to time! I think that’s why He points us to a bride and groom, to illustrate His desire for relationship with His people.
At Concentric, we believe that following Jesus includes surrendering to His priorities, and allowing His Spirit to infuse the character of Christ in us. This is how we experience the fulness of life that God intends. As we surrender to His will and His way, we will share His love with our neighbors and the world.
Jesus is what our world needs. So we celebrate Him and we embrace the reminder of His love in a young couples wedding!
We may live in uncertain times. But we serve a certain God who has overcome our greatest foes and fears.
Visit our new website and social media sites to learn more about the ministry, and how you can be a part of it.
I believe our best days lay ahead! If you are a financial and prayer partner already, thank you. If you are not, and want to find out how to get involved in our exciting ministry, let’s talk soon. You can also visit https://concentricglobal.org/partner/circle/.
MIKE HARDER, CONCENTRIC PRESIDENT
Global Alliance Ministries
Our world-wide disciple-making network
1. What is Concentric?
Concentric is an alliance of organizations committed to the values of Christ’s Life. We are not a sending agency but an alliance of like-minded organizations committed to “equipping leaders for movements that multiply disciples, leaders and healthy churches…” Concentric partners with a number of sending agencies such as Josiah Venture and several other indigenous agencies. While we don’t have staff overseas, we partner with our alliance ministries to reach out globally. And we have several leaders who serve with other organizations but are allowed to give time to Concentric’s mission.
2. How do I get access to the core training of Concentric?
The best way to do this is to get involved with our partnering ministries. If you are from North America, you can go to the training of Sonlife in North America. If you are in Eastern Europe, you can get the core training through Josiah Venture. If in Africa…J-Life Africa. Our partnering organizations have taken the core training of the Son’s life and adapted it to the context of the region and countries they are working in.
3. I am training youth workers to travel overseas. What do you recommend?
Go as a learner first. And then identify some key leaders with whom you can spend time. Share your heartbeat and listen for theirs. If you’re invited to teach on the life of Christ, we recommend you do so straight from the Word rather than from a manual. Be sure to check out some of our eBooks and White Papers addressing these important issues.
4. How can I get involved in partnering with Concentric's misison?
Concentric needs heroes for the disciple-making mission and Gospel of Jesus that will partner with us through prayer and financial gifts.