Changing Lenses in Cana

One never knows what an adventure will include.  Perhaps that is why we go looking for them.  Often, however, they find us before we are prepared to fully process them.  I find that my imagination and expectations are often too narrow for the fabulous adventures of daily life.  The Jesus Trail provides a framework for adventures, especially cultural, spiritual and physical ones, but the route varies from person to person, from day to day, from season to season.  I have found that the trail becomes an adventure in daily living; the trail becomes not so much an extraordinary out-of-life adventure, but a way to experience my real life by walking through the unexpected with curiosity and expectation.  All along the way I am being handed lenses with which to view my world differently.  However many times I walk the trail, the lenses reveal something unique each time.  Take Cana as an example.

Cana is the first night’s stop on the Jesus Trail.  A delightful guesthouse stands right on the path.  Only a few hops up the courtyard steps and one finds a house full of beds and delicious food.  From the balcony guests look right over onto the roof of the Catholic Wedding Church.  Some Christians believe the modern day town of Cana may be the site for Jesus’ first miracle, water to wine.  The Catholic Church and the nearby Orthodox Church each celebrate this miracle.  On a recent visit to Cana I followed a small group interested in seeing these sights.

As we walked across the cobbled courtyard, we followed tour groups from various countries, all excited to get their pictures taken where a miracle took place.  Following them into the church and down some stairs, we entered a room carved in the rock and housing a large but simple stone urn.  Money, prayers, and photos floated over the walls of the glass case and lodged in the stones of the cellar walls.  For many the thought of miracles brought mystery, renewed faith, and excitement.  Ascending once more into the church above, my husband and I were greeted by a lady speaking Italian.  We do not understand Italian, but gradually we realized she was fervently inviting us to come renew our wedding vows with about ten other couples gathered before the priest.  We declined, but watched with interest as the couples shared space with one of the most famous weddings in biblical history.

Our cultural experience was just beginning, however.  We stepped outside as the chimes rang along with the singing of “Ave Maria” by excited worshipers.  Rounding the corner of the church we found another group interested in marriage.  Not only were Catholics renewing their vows, but a group of Protestants were being challenged by their own marriage seminar in the courtyard.  Couples laughed and gazed into each other’s eyes while sharing a rose.  We debated whether or not to stay for the reception to follow (baklava, wine, and roses) but felt that we were outsiders at this wedding bash.  No water into wine that we know of, but our time at the Wedding Church provided us with new lenses with which to view cultures, faith, and the ever-continuing trail.