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A Wedding Reception

Jesus comes to the rescue!

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To consider the Bible story of Jesus at the wedding in Cana.

Preparation and materials

  • Be prepared to tell or read the scenario in the ‘Assembly’, Step 5.

  • Optional: you may wish to ask a child to read the Bible passage about the wedding in Cana, which is found in John 2.6-10.

Assembly

  1. Ask the children a range of questions about their own experiences of weddings.

    - Have you ever been to a wedding?
    - Whose wedding was it?
    - Where did it take place?
    - What happened after the wedding? Was there a party?

  2. Explain that after a wedding, there is usually a party, which is called the ‘reception’. The reason for the party is that the bride and groom want to celebrate and spend time with all their family and friends. Often, the reception is held in a hall or a hotel.

  3. Ask the children if any of them have been to, or know what happens at, a reception.

    Explain that food is usually a big part of a wedding celebration.

  4. Ask the children to imagine being invited to a wedding reception or even to imagine being a guest at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding reception.

  5. Describe the following scenario, adapting the list of food as appropriate to your school.

    You’ve sat through the wedding service and taken part in the long photo shoot out in the garden, and now you’re feeling pretty hungry. When you entered the place where the reception is being held, you noticed long buffet tables laden with food: sandwiches, pizzas, quiches, sausage rolls, cheese on sticks, sausages on sticks and all kinds of crisps and salads. You even got a whiff of hot potato wedges. Then, there were all the sweet things, too: fruit, sponge cakes, waffles, cheesecakes, marshmallow-topped hearts, chocolate crispy cakes and rocky road.

    It is a buffet-style meal and the master of ceremonies calls out the tables one by one.
    ‘Tables 1 and 2, please come and help yourselves.’
    There are 12 tables, and you are sitting at number 9. You have a long wait. Your tummy is rumbling and you’re really thirsty.

    At last, the master of ceremonies calls out, ‘Table number 9 please.’
    You rush up to the buffet table and take a plate.
    What? No sausages left, nor any sausage rolls, and what happened to all the plates of sandwiches? Only a few cucumber sandwiches are left, and you certainly don’t fancy them! There are a few spilled crisps, but not one potato wedge, nor a slice of pizza or quiche. Surely the waiters have gone away to bring more.

    But no, you see the master of ceremonies shake his head in great embarrassment.
    That’s your lot! Oh well, you quickly move on to the pudding table, having gathered a few crumbs of crisps. Again, you are met with empty plates. You can see where the cream has been on the cheesecakes and you can see splodges of chocolate where the rocky road has been. One, solitary marshmallow-topped heart stands on a plate. You’re not even sure you should take it because there are others behind you and your mum has always said not to be greedy. What a disaster of a wedding reception!

  6. Ask the children the following questions.

    - How would the guests at tables 9, 10, 11 and 12 be feeling?
    - How would the master of ceremonies be feeling?
    - How would the bride and groom be feeling?

    It’s unlikely that this would happen in real life, but I suppose it depends on how many very greedy people go first and don’t think of those coming behind. You never know!

  7. Tell the children that something like this did happen once, at a wedding to which Jesus was invited. They didn’t run out of food, but they ran out of drink, which, in a very hot country like Israel, was almost as bad. Grapes grow really well in Israel, so wine was a favourite drink and at a wedding, there was always a ready supply of good wine.

    As happened in the story we heard earlier, people realized that the wine had completely run out. There was not one flagon left in the cellar.
    ‘How embarrassing!’ muttered a few people, including Mary, Jesus’ mother.
    ‘Jesus,’ she said. ‘Please do something. They have run out of wine.’
    Then, she told the waiters to do whatever Jesus told them.

    Let’s see what happened next.

  8. Read, or ask a child to read, the passage found in John 2.6-10:

    Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, so they filled them to the brim. Then, he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’ They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, although the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then, he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘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.’

Time for reflection

Ask the children, ‘Why do you think Jesus performed a miracle at the wedding?’

Listen to a range of responses.

Answers will probably refer to Jesus caring for people, not wanting his friends to be embarrassed by a lack of food and drink, and wanting to help.

Read John 2.11: ‘What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.’

Explain that Jesus performed a miracle to show his disciples who he was and to show them that they could trust him. This was the very first miracle that Jesus performed.

How amazing it must have been to be one of the servants who had to fill the jars with ordinary water!

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that Jesus even cared about wine at a wedding.
Thank you for the miracle he performed in turning water into wine.
Thank you that Jesus’ disciples learned to trust him.
Help us to trust you, too.
Amen.

Publication date: June 2018   (Vol.20 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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