9 The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. (John 2.9)
I can relate to this scene where a dilemma presents itself, in this case, they ran out of wine. And Jesus saves the day by turning water into wine. We often refer to this as one of Jesus’ first miracles. What I appreciate about what Jesus did is his ability to improvise.
As a pastor/mother, my kids often give me many opportunities to improvise. In the case of today, I had no one to give credit to but myself. Nothing like forgetting to bring the key ingredient to church for Sunday School – can’t make matzoh without flour – or having the preschoolers learn about Moses and misplacing the book; or forgetting that this Sunday had interactive prayer stations, which uses the preschool Sunday School tables; or running out of bulletins and having to quietly steal them from couples so that I could hand them out to visitors.
Well, what does one do when things just seem to go wrong? Improvise! What’s even better is having people willing to improvise alongside you so that no one really knew any better. While I’m a person that prefers to be prepared, there is something refreshing about having to improvise. I had a renewed sense of appreciation for my teachers who are confident to just wing it. I was pleasantly surprised that attendance in worship increased beyond our usual numbers. I may not have turned water into wine, but getting through today without any major bumps in the road was nothing short of a miracle.
In a couple hours, I leave for Next Conference where a lot of focus will be about how churches engage, thrive, and adapt ministry for today and the future. I believe there is something to improvisation. As dilemmas present themselves, churches must have the ability and openness to improvise. Try something, see how it pans out, and change accordingly. Let us open ourselves to the spirit and allow God to surprise us in amazing ways.