Revisiting Some Archived Articles that Have Not Been Lost, but May Have Been Forgotten and Are Worth a Fresh Read
Original Post Date: August 14, 2012
I would like to take some time in this article revisiting what should be a very familiar story from the Bible, the occasion of Christ’s first miracle in the village of Cana (John 2). Not only will Christ and Cana be our first two ‘C’ words, but we will eventually proceed full circle and conclude with these two as well.
For now, however, let us take a closer look at this story. Jesus’ family and disciples were at a wedding feast when a lack of foresight on the part of the wedding planner—or extraordinarily thirsty guests, or a combination of the two—led to a potentially disastrous social faux pas. With plenty of time remaining at the wedding celebration, the wine had run out. Though Jesus had not performed a miracle up to this point, as the head of the household after the death of Joseph, Mary clearly expected much from her eldest son. Jesus made some protest with regard to His greater mission, but He also used this occasion to glorify His Father. Mary left after giving explicit instructions to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Here is a glimpse of Mary’s complete trust in Christ. Jesus had the servants fill the pots with water and without much ado or personal oversight, he had the servants deliver a cupful to the master of the feast. The wine was celebrated as being far better than the wine that had been served earlier in the feast.
Now we will suspend our thoughts on this story temporarily and pursue our next ‘C’, covenant. When God established His covenant, and then renewed His covenant, with the people of Israel, He told them to pass on the covenant to their children, our next ‘C’. First, realize that telling the people to pass on the covenant to their children was not a post scriptum to the covenant, or a lazy way out of having to reiterate the covenant to every generation. No, passing the covenant on to the children was just as much a part of the covenant as was keeping the Sabbath, or refraining from murder or adultery. Passing the covenant on to the children was the means which the Lord used to be in covenant with every generation thereafter. Keeping the covenant perfectly in every other sense, but failing to pass the covenant on to the next generation, would be to fail miserably.
On a related side note, I would like to share a personal story with you. I had just come back from a church (this ‘C’ is only optional) service where a short-term missions team was sharing their experience. They had gone to a quaint little town in British Columbia and they were amazed by the realization that there were people in that town who had no real understanding of the person of God. It was almost aboriginal. When the missionaries spoke to the local pastor, he explained that there had been a revival several decades ago, but that was then and this was now. There was a definite spiritual disparity between the two generations. I immediately thought that the generation that had been blessed with a revival from God had not faithfully kept covenant with God by passing their knowledge, passion, and responsibilities on to the next generation. They received freely, but had failed to give freely.
This leads to our next set of ‘C’s’, and yes, in context you may already have guessed what it is: classical conversations. By extension, classical is that which is so well designed that it becomes timeless. This is how we will apply it to our current thoughts on the matter. What God has given to us in His Word is eternal; it is timeless. To say that it is classical in any sense is a severe understatement. Nonetheless, the point is easily understood: God’s Word is classical while simultaneously timelessly relevant. Since we are God’s people and in covenant with Him, it is our obligation to have classical conversations with our children. These conversations have to revolve around our knowledge and commitment to our common (two bonus ‘C’s’) Lord. If we fail to have these covenantal conversations, we have no proper claims to being in true covenant with God.
What is the ultimate goal of these conversations? This leads to a very important ‘C’, conversion. We all want our children to be converted to Christ at the earliest age possible and to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of His character and will. We all know, of course, that we are spiritually incapable of making truly regenerated converts; that is the job of the Holy Spirit alone. We are still obligated to give all we can to lead our children to the foot of the cross, the sole place where our salvation is procured.
Now we have come full circle to the scene of the wedding at Cana. In my personal devotional time, I have read a book called, The Duties of Parents, by J.C. Ryle, published in 1888. With one little sentence, Ryle encapsulates everything I have feebly attempted to express in this essay:
“We have only to do as the servants were commanded at the marriage feast in Cana, to fill the water pots with water, and we may safely leave it to the Lord to turn that water into wine.”
The point is clear on all fronts; we are responsible for the inputting of biblical knowledge and virtue into our children and God is responsible to turn these items into saving faith.
Let me attempt one last exercise in thinking on the letter ‘C’. As a covenantal people, let us commit to having classical conversations with our covenantal children, leading them to the foot of the cross of Christ, where, as at the wedding feast in Cana, our watery input is converted to regenerative wine.
These are my thoughts on the letter ‘C’.