If you were to throw a party, what would your guest list look like? I know that we’ve all been there. We mentally go through and asses the type of people we want to invite. In other words, we want to be around people who are fun-loving, genuine, and caring. Plus, it doesn’t hurt if they are cheery, hopeful and positive.
Growing up I pretty much only had a handful of friends. Truthfully, throughout my high school years I could narrow it down to only one guy. His name was Vince. Vince and I met probably around the grade ten year. Neither of us can pin-point to an exact time, but it helped that my mother (who was a teacher) had taught Vince in public school. There was a certain familiarity we shared because Vince was one of my mothers favourites.
Throughout high school Vince and I shared many hours walking the hallways and chatting with pretty much anyone. Everybody loved Vince because he was always positive, fun, energetic and honest. He was a high school phenom and was an incredible rugby player. In fact, he was most-likely responsible for the success of rugby at our school. I never played rugby, but regardless of the sport, Vince always seemed to be the straw that stirred the drink. He was the embodiment of school spirit. I was proud to be his friend, and even though he was shorter than most, he was a giant in many ways.
Throughout the years Vince and I stayed connected in and out of school. We fished and hunted together often. We went sledding (that’s snowmobiling, not tobogganing by the way) and even jet-skied the ocean together. On one of our very successful fishing days we even talked about starting up our own Fishing Charter Company. That would have been fun.
As we got older, we were able to be in each other’s wedding parties, and connected a couple of times socially with our young children. However, throughout the years our families have grown and our time is often spent on them. Months have turned into years, but if there’s one person who I can count on to always be there for me, it’s Vince. He actually drove over three hours on a week-end to come help fix my furnace. He’s a one of kind gem, and he reminds me of Jesus.
We are told that the very first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. Jewish weddings were big-time celebrations and festive events. We know that Jesus was invited, and so were His closest friends. He made the list. As the evening unfolds, Jesus is made aware that the host was running short on drinks. Mary must have found out, or had been told because she knew Who could do something about it.
We all know the rest of the story. If not, you can read about it in John 2. Here’s the point. Jesus was at the party because He was on the guest list. He and the disciples were invited. But not only was He present, Jesus also brought new life to the party in a divine way. John says that Jesus displayed His glory for the very first time at a party. Interesting.
I wonder how many “Christians” are intentionally left off of party lists because they bring anything but God’s glory into the room. Could it be that it’s because they bring judgement, negativity, criticalness and the message of moral conformity into the atmosphere. We all know a Larry Legalist and a Fundamental Freda who seem to drain all the joy, happiness and life out of everyone around them. But this is something Jesus never does. His gospel is actually good news and doesn’t seem to focus on negative legalism.
The point is that Jesus was desirable to be around, and people sought His company. He was likeable and adored by children. Social outcasts flocked to Him in droves. I personally believe it was because Jesus was very friendly, positive, fun, energetic and honest. More than that, Jesus embodied the divine love of God. He loved people radically and attracted those that had been rejected by the prevailing religious system.
Here’s my point. First Century believers were radically different from any type of defined religion because they did not fit into any defined and accepted form. In fact, early Rome deemed these Jesus followers to be atheists because of it. They were literally breaking the traditional mould. Maybe it was because Jesus didn’t fit the mould either. Truthfully, He actually tore it wide open.
I am thankful for my friendship with Vince and what he means to me. He is someone who reminds me of what God is like through Jesus. He is someone who makes my party list every time and is always ready to help when needed with a positive outlook and smile. Vince may have never turned water into wine, but he never fails to fill up empty spaces with his love and kindness. According to Psalm 63, that seems to be the essential qualities of God’s divine life. Perhaps we could all use a little bit more of that in our lives everyday.
Thanks for the reminder Vince.
P.S. By the way, if I ever throw a party, Vince your in!