Grace be with you my friends and peace.
I am pleased to have the privilege of meeting with you and sharing the good news of the Gospel this morning.
To help focus our next few moments I find it helpful to pray. So, if you will, please join me with prayer.
Today’s bible passage is the Wedding at Cana.
A very recognizable story.
It is the first of the miracles. Water is turned into wine.
This scripture often highlights Jesus’s actions. His first of the miracles. But today I want to look at Mary.
There was a journey. From Jordan to Cana. A Wedding.
In Palestine the marriage ceremony usually began at twilight.
The feast after the marriage was at the home of the bridegroom.
It could last for days
But in this case it seems poverty limited the wedding feast.
The festivities are underway when Mary realizes that there is no more wine. Jesus response may feel short, clipped, but it is more a moment of self doubt. He says to his mother “My hour has not come”.
But Mary must have had an intuition that Jesus was about to do something. I bet there was a mothers’ look in there somewhere.
She turns to the servants and says “be ready…do what he tells you”
Jesus says get the jugs of water that were used to clean and purify people. He asks the servants to fill the water jugs. They did. Filled to the brim.
Lift the Water; Drink the Wine.
Hear the Good News: the first miracle is one of abundance.
Overflowing abundance. There is plenty of wine.
The groom is rescued; Jesus helps him fulfill his social duty.
Look at it from Mary’s viewpoint.
She sees that the wine is almost gone.
She knows that this will be an embarrassing situation
She asks her son to do something.
He says “it is not my time”.
But Mary does not stop.
She prepares the servants – tells them:
Now let me tell you another story…
The community you support was started in the summer of 1994, the Rev. Deborah W. Little began meeting with homeless people on the streets of Boston, offering sandwiches, friendship and helpful referrals.
From that simple beginning, common cathedral has evolved into an ecumenical church community that engages homeless and privileged people, service providers, clergy, seminarians, artists, and professionals of all kinds in activities that work to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of homeless people and their friends in Boston.
We are the church community of the un-housed and their friends.
You are part of us; you are housed and yet of the un-housed.
We have 4 main programs:
Outdoor ministry: Our staff and pastors take time to be present on the street. Meeting new people and checking with our congregation members.
Common cathedral: Lunch and worship on the Boston common every Sunday Rain or shine.
CityReach: a weekend in Boston for housed congregations to learn about homelessness in Boston – directly from those who have experienced it.
Common Art: Through leadership and self-expression community members gain self-confidence and experience God's grace. For many common art members, art is a way of life. For others, it’s a new discovery. But for all, art is passion and expression. It is life affirming, a defiant or gentle "yes" in the face of stigma and the constant struggle with poverty and homelessness.
In all we do, Mary’s voice can be heard. Be ready. Be ready to create the miracle of abundance. Be ready to be the faithful community of the housed and the un-housed.
But you and I do even more!
A year ago you and I and the community of faith created Boston Warm.
Can you hear Mary’s instruction? Be ready. Sister. Be ready. Brother.
Boston Warm started in the midst of crises. The Long Island Bridge had closed. People were forced onto the streets. Newspapers ran banner headlines. Politicians called meetings.
Quietly, purposefully the community of faith gathered. This time last year the basement of Old South Church was being cleaned and prepared. One year ago tomorrow Boston Warm opened. 40 un-housed people waited at the doors for opening day come Monday morning.
Our community comes alive at Boston Warm.
We see people as their best selves.
Not as the man struggling with sobriety but as the man who comes in every day and makes coffee – contributing to our community.
Not as the man living on the streets but as the father of two who writes his girls every week.
Martin Luther King saw himself as a drum major for justice and the restoration of community. I see you as people of justice restoring Boston’s community.
Mary calls, be ready. Not just words. Show me. Hospitality is required. Lift the water; Drink the wine.
And you and I opened the door of Boston Warm. Concrete, positive action.
Howard Thurman of Marsh Chapel at Boston University once said:
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Without passion one tires and drops away.
But if our aliveness is sustained in faithful community we get to sway the course of history.
We gain surprising powers, great resilience.
Our presence is persistent.
Come alive. And are able to respond.
Mary says be ready.
Be ready to Lift the water, Drink the wine.
Be ready to be the beloved community
You have been ready. Three weeks ago this church filled 80 … count them 80! … backpacks filled with necessities for the un-housed of Boston.
Amazing. Thank you! You helped Lift Water; that all can drink wine.
Common cathedral’s congregation is present in many ways. In prayer, in the breaking of bread, in artistic creation, in common community. (I invite you to join us for worship mid-winter on Boston Common.) In all there is a tangible piece that links all of our work.
Our cross witnesses to the Good News.
This cross (hold up cross) was created by a community member and adopted as our symbol, a symbol that our community knows and trusts. If you are in Boston wearing this cross many will stop you and they will know that you are safety in an unsafe world. People will know that you are bringing the good news.
The stories of our community, those that wear this cross, vary. Women, men, homeless, sheltered, housed, paroled, sober, wanting to be sober and it continues.
It is the cross and our desire to tell the good news that brings us together. Brings is to park benches to pray. Brings us to canvas to paint.
This morning you will get to hear more of these stories. They should not be told by me.
You should hear about Bryant and the beautiful capes he has created.
From Frank about his paintings.
From Mable about her beadwork.
As you do I hope you hear their passion.
The Good News that they share.
As your relationship with us deepens
come on a Sunday to worship
bring your youth group to CityReach
and you will hear the deeper stories.
Of choosing to sleep in the common because it is safer than the shelter.
Of struggling with staying sober and how if feels to be out of control.
Of getting kicked out of the door way at 4:00 AM because the delivery truck has arrived.
Of being apart of common art, choosing to create, of wearing our cross, choosing to believe in the good news.
Hear the person who comes to common art and says “I came for the art and stayed for the love”.
Hear the Good News.
It is when someone has come lunch every Sunday but stays for the first time for service.
Hear the Good News.
It is when housed communities like yours invite us to be present and share our gifts.
Hear the Good News.
And invest in mission that returns a profit many times over.
Friends, it is time. To be ready.