Wedding at Cana

Posted by on Thursday, Sep 29, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

I always thought the wedding at Cana to be a weird transition in John’s gospel. John starts out with all this heavy theology and then describes a wedding where Jesus turned water into wine. It’s Jesus’ first miracle. He took some water and made 150 gallons of wine (approximately 1000 bottles of the expensive stuff). In the Old Testament, wine is associated with joy. The prophet Joel said, that when the future messianic kingdom, when the Kingdom of God begins on earth, “the vats will overflow with new wine.” (Joel 2:24, 3:18) The wine overflowing at the wedding in Cana symbolized (new covenant) the Kingdom of God on earth had begun. Now that’s more like John’s heavy theology. The Kingdom of God is God coming to earth in flesh to “take away the sin of the world”(John 1:29) and to create a new society through the power of his Spirit that would live on earth as he intended in the beginning. Wholeness and fullness in every dimension of life. Fully Flourishing. The vats started to overflow. Picture the scene. Jesus in the back doing a miracle, but where are the people? Dancing. Drinking. Talking. Living normal. They are clueless as to what just happened. They missed it. And I think we do, too. Is it possible Jesus is doing something behind the scenes to bring the kingdom of God fully flourishing into your life, family, home, work place – and you’re missing it? But there’s more – at a wedding the Bridegroom provides the wine. One chapter later John will tell us that Jesus is the Bridegroom. We call the Church, those who say yes to Jesus, the Bride of Christ. (A new covenant of marriage is initiated at the wedding of Cana – between Jesus and those who believe.) When Jesus turned water into wine he initiated a new covenant – a marriage between him and his people. Do you think most of the people at the wedding got it? What were they doing? Dancing. Drinking. Talking. Now the disciples got it, they said “Whoa, this guy is divine.” However, they didn’t completely get it because later when they were in a boat in a storm and Jesus woke and calmed the wind, they said, “Whoa. Who is this guy?” They got some of it, but they missed some, too. And I wonder if we do, too? Now think back to what marriage meant to the original audience. A woman had to be married. That was her only means of survival. Unmarried women were left to a life of destitution or prostitution. Unmarried meant vulnerable, defenseless, hopeless, futureless. Is it possible the first miracle is a sign that something new awaits those in...

Read More

I Have the Wrong Name

Posted by on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2016 in Blog | 1 comment

When you’re younger, you spend a lot of energy assessing the baggage handed to you and trying to eradicate the inner darkness within. The beauty of age is that you stop wrestling with the dark and light that you were raised in and come to accept it as a part of your own inner life. That’s probably why I now, twenty-eight years into my marriage, feel I have the wrong last name. Twenty- eight years ago, I married and took my husband Steve’s last name. In the beginning it was weird to sign my new name on a check or hear it called out by another. “Mrs. Roese?” I would turn and look for my mother-in-law before realizing they were addressing me. Reflecting back now, I wish I hadn’t taken Steve’s last name. Not because I’m mad at him or because historically women were property of their husband and therefore took their husband’s last name, but because my married name doesn’t authentically communicate who I am or where I come from. In the Scriptures we see that names mattered. They told us about the person’s character (or the parents’ hope for their child). They told where they lived or what tribe they were connected to, which then told us about their religion, food preferences, rituals, etc. Names told us who the parents were and even what hopes their community had for the future. Names mattered because they housed identity. I was reminded of this while pondering through John Chapter 1 & 2. In the opening sentence, the Apostle John identifies Jesus as “the Word” (Rev. 19:13). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This name for Jesus is a powerful one — 1:12-13 indicates that you must embrace “his name” to be saved. So we have to know what John meant when he called Jesus “the Word”. Words are a means of communication. They express what’s on one’s mind. Jesus as the Word means his life, his words, and his deeds are the very words and deeds of God Creator in Genesis 1:1. The Word, Jesus, reveals God to us (John 1:18). The name holds so much meaning behind it. It communicates way beyond the actual letters of the name itself. My husband and I grew up in the same town in upstate New York. That means people in town know both of our families. When I’m home, it’s glaringly obvious that my married name is the wrong name for me. Steve’s parents owned the small Christian bookstore on the corner of Main Street and Elm. His mom taught kids in Jr. Church at Main Street Baptist...

Read More

Still Like Him

Posted by on Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Today is our 27th anniversary. That’s a long time. And I have to say if I had to do it over again I would still choose him. He’s a great husband, father and friend. He serves Jesus well and I’m more because of him. Happy anniversary my...

Read More

Some Books Are Worth Reading

Posted by on Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

When I served as a pastor in a large church, I was confronted (as were the others on the pastoral staff) with questions like: “Can I take communion?” “Can we become members?” “Can we serve in a ministry here?” Gay and lesbian couples were asking, “Are we welcome here?” I didn’t have an answer. Of course they could attend but I wasn’t sure if they could “participate,” and if so, in what capacity. Our church didn’t have any policies on homosexuality – per se. I guess we just naturally aligned with the traditional evangelical position which was homosexuality was a sin. But now the issue was knocking on our door – some cultural and some very personal knocks – which forced us to examine our position. It wasn’t just us. I’m aware of other churches in the metroplex grappling with this issue. They, too, are examining and reexamining. The discussion is on – it’s happening within the inner circles of our church leadership. And for the first time – at least in my short recall of 20 years in Dallas – Dallas Theological Seminary addressed the issue at the “Jerusalem Meets Vegas” conference. I was pleased to hear Dr. Yarhouse, an expert in the field, speak, but I was disappointed that at such a fine institution of higher learning there wasn’t another scholar of equal weight, such as Dr. J Pearson, presenting another side of the evangelical debate. Is it fear that keeps us withholding knowledge? Personally, I believe it’s healthy for the Church to examine and reexamine her interpretations and theological positions. Time and culture force us to ask again, “Is that true?” We had to do it with Galileo, and again with slavery, and again with the issue of women. The Marcella Project started hosting a salon on homosexuality. A “salon” is a gathering of people discussing a specific spiritual issue that impacts our lives. The object of the salon is not so much to give you a conclusion, but rather to become informed about both sides of the evangelical argument (with Scripture, history and culture all in view) in order to learn how to make theological decisions that impact our faith practices. I’m continuing to read as much as possible on the subject. I want to understand the theological and exegetic arguments, but more than that, I want to learn to love well in the middle of it. I think that’s the angst many of us are experiencing. How do we love well? What if we don’t land at the same conclusion as our gay son or lesbian daughter? What if we can’t say, “It’s okay” to our gay father or lesbian sister? This is the...

Read More

Young, Single & Her Faith (Part 1)

Posted by on Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

I’ve been wondering what’s on young single (Christian) women’s minds. I wanted to know how they felt about marriage, work, gender issues, homosexuality, politics and their future dreams. I asked Stacey, a young professional woman living in Dallas to write a few blogs to help us know  what’s on young women’s mind. (Part 1, tune in Thursday for Part 2).  I’d like to think that their questions are deeply influenced by being located in the still culturally distinct South, from which their experiences are derived. However, it doesn’t render the question any less impactful or soul-searching. The first time years ago was a fluke – a joke to tell others. The second and third instance made me question if I were behaving in some odd way. What else could have triggered these inquiries? I am referring to the “L” question – as in, “Are you a lesbian?” or “Are you even interested in guys?” This is most often followed by, “Then why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Let me tell you, folks, this is a tough one. Initially it’s funny, then maddening. Apparently being picky (perhaps too much so), not wanting to date just to have something to do, and working long hours aren’t sufficient reasons. For what it’s worth, in all three instances, I was asked by men, including one whom I’ve made it clear to that we are only friends. It may be doubtful that this is a common occurrence for readers of the Marcella blog, but I believe there is at least one common denominator to this question that affects us all – identity. Rather than basing my identity on some guy and/or kids, I resort to equally “bridge to nowhere” items, such as my appearance and work performance. It is the worst kind of rollercoaster, because there is a better way to live this life. Instead our identity is found in Christ, where we are unified: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As it pertains to my identity in Christ, I am nowhere near ready for solid foods (1 Corinthians 3:2). I need to claim this truth daily. Perhaps you should do the same, beginning with today. Signed,...

Read More