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Mission in the World
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Evangelical Lutheran
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302-393 Portage Ave,
Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6

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Epiphany Sermon Series 2001

January 14, 2001 -- Epiphany 2

John 2:1-11

Jesus changed the water into wine because he was asked to do so, and it was a good thing to do. He may not have done this if he had not been asked. He is still ready to change situations or circumstances for us if we ask, and if it is "good" for us and for the kingdom.

In my introductory lecture to the Joint Christian Ministry in West Africa Assembly, I addressed "The Challenge of Islam to the Church in West Africa". I developed the thesis that the basic challenge which Islam posed to the Church was for the Church to be true to its own witness, in the life of each individual member, each congregation and the community as a whole.

Rev. Stuart Brown and his wife, Margaret

Rev. Stuart Brown
PO Box 495, Jos
Plateau State, Nigeria
e-mail

I talked about Christian ideas of marriage and ecumenical solidarity. Apparently people were happy with those themes, but I also referred to the passage at hand in part of a section on being responsible about alcohol. I said that Jesus had turned the water into wine, not juice, and cited other verses to show that the word in the text was really "wine". Then I mentioned a few comments about drunkenness and posited a case for moderation.

To my amusement, a lot of the types who are keenest on "inerrancy", when it comes to evolution or male dominance, were not happy with the idea that Jesus might really have produced (and maybe even drunk) wine. I could only quote Mt 11:19.

We have to find a way to enjoy the bounty of creation responsibly, and we have to remember that our message is supposed to be Good News of real peace and real joy, so the way we live our marriages and the way we behave with wine or any other gift is an essential element of our witness.

-- Rev. Stuart Brown
Jos, Nigeria

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