Taken and adapted from: “A Vision for a Gospel-Centered Life”
Written by Timothy Keller
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty 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, though 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.” This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. –John 2: 1-11
This is the story of Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana…
…and there’s a certain ‘oddness’ about it. Reynolds Price of Duke University said, “if you were inventing a biography of Jesus Christ (that is, if you were just making up stories about Jesus to get across His power and His glory)…who would invent the inaugural event of Jesus’ career a miraculous solution to a mere social embarrassment?” In other words, here…Jesus is using all His great divine power for a catering disaster. If you were making up a story…a story about His greatest and power you’d never make up a story like this. Which means, it’s here because it happened. Why did it happen? Why did He do it? What does this mean? What was He teaching by it? In this passage, we learn
(1) what Jesus came to offer,
(2) how He provides it, and
(3) how we can receive it.
What Jesus Came to Offer
There was a wedding, verse 1. You’ve heard, of course, that in ancient times, in more traditional cultures, weddings were even bigger deals than they are in our day. Weddings in those days lasted about seven days. The key to the wedding was the wine. The wine was what made the wedding a feast…a party. It was the groom’s family’s responsibility to make the wedding a great feast and to supply enough wine to last seven days. What we find here…in the beginning of story…(but we aren’t told how or why)…the wine ran out early. But.. it was a disaster…even though I joked about it being a ‘catering disaster.’ In that context, it was a lot more serious…for this was a shame culture. In a shame culture, the social expectations of the society were such that if the family didn’t fulfill the social expectations, it was a great disaster for everyone. In a shame culture this was not a small thing.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, heard about it, and was evidently close to the family (perhaps a relative)…she found out about the catering disaster before anyone else, and she went to Jesus and told Him about the situation…and Jesus did do something about the situation. What does it teach us that Jesus did it, that is, fulfills the need and provides the wine? It is an extremely important question…because this is His inaugural sign. Verse 11 tells us that this is the first of His miraculous signs by which He was revealing His glory. When you roll out a new magazine or you go public with a new business enterprise, you want to make sure every single word is carefully crafted to convey the quintessence of what the enterprise is all about. What does it mean that the first inaugural sign of Jesus Christ’s mission, by which He is telling us who He is and what He came to do? He did not raise someone from the dead…He did not heal a sick person…He did not preach a sermon. He didn’t call anyone into discipleship. What did He do? He produced 150 gallons of the best wine to keep a party going. And that’s His first sign. What does that mean? How could that be His first sign?
If you and I do find that odd (even though I’ve labeled this somewhat facetiously a catering disaster), perhaps it means we don’t understand what Jesus is really about…very well. This term “master of the banquet” (in verses 7 & 8), is a Greek word that literally means the ruler of the table or the lord of the feast. We don’t have in our weddings today someone quite like this, unless it’s a really, really big wedding. This person was essentially a master of ceremonies. His real job was to make the party a real party…the banquet a real banquet…to make it a great feast. But, the whole point of this passage is what…who makes this a great feast…who is it that supplies the wine in the end? Who is the true Lord of the feast? It’s Jesus. Jesus Christ is saying by making wine His calling card, He is saying: ‘I come…yes, to bring self-denial…yes, to bring rules and regulations…yes, to bring humbling…yes, to bring codes of conduct…yes I come to bring all that and my followers will experience all of that, but ultimately, what am I here to do…where am I driving the universe?’ (We saw this earlier in Isaiah 25…in the last day… the Lord of hosts will make for His people a feast of the finest meats and wine well refined…and on this mountain He will swallow up death forever. And the LORD God will wipe away tears from all faces and your reproach and shame will be taken away forever, for the Lord God has spoken.) Jesus is saying ‘I am the Lord of the feast. I come to bring festival joy.
I remember some years ago, a pastor of a church of which I was a member…this pastor was talking about some people who had been nominated for office, and at one point he said, ‘I really love this man, but this man has not yet taken responsibility, for the fact that he doesn’t have much joy in his life.’ And that sure sounded strange to me. What did he mean…responsibility? For joy??!! And yet Jesus is saying here, ‘I come to bring you joy! That’s what I’m about…that’s where I’m driving the whole universe…I’m driving the whole world to there.’
Why is it that the Bible over and over again uses sensory language to get across what God offers us? For example:
Psalm 34 – Taste and see that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2 – Now you have tasted that God is gracious
Ephesians 1 – I want the eyes of your heart to be enlightened so that you may know His power in us
Ephesians 3 – I want you to have power to grasp how long, and wide, and high, and deep is the love of Christ.
Look at that language. We know God is good, but His word is saying, ‘I want you to taste that God is good. You know God is a God of grace, but I want you to taste His graciousness.’ We know God is powerful from Ephesians 1, but He wants us to see His power…not just know about His power. We know that He loves us, but He ‘wants us to grasp…to feel His love.’ Paul says His love is spread abroad in our hearts, by His Holy Spirit.
Why all this sensory language? Christians are being called…in all of these passages to go beyond just believing into experience. The Bible says it is not enough to just know God is loving and to know God is powerful. You’ve gotta taste…you’ve gotta see…you’ve gotta grasp His love and power. The person who put this best is Jonathan Edwards in his very famous sermon “The Divine and Supernatural Light” Edwards says,
“There is a difference between having an opinion that God is holy and gracious and having a sense on the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and graciousness. So there is a difference between knowing that honey is sweet and having the taste or the sense of its sweetness.”
A sense venue can only be understood in terms of itself… not in terms of another sense venue. For example, if a person born blind asks you, ‘is blue like the taste of salt…is red like the sound of a trumpet’…you’re going to respond, ‘not really.’ You’re going to say that you can’t really convey the reality…if you don’t have eyes. You’re never going to really grasp the full reality of color by having it described to you in a book, or in terms of another sense. You have to actually see the color if you’re ever going to experience the reality of it. What Edwards is saying, and what the Bible is saying, is this: it’s one thing to say oh I know God loves me…but have you seen…have you tasted…has it been shed abroad in your heart? Have you actually had the life shaping reality come upon you? You say, ‘oh, when you say sense of the heart, you mean the feeling…you’re talking about emotions.’ Oh, NO!! I’m talking about something much deeper than the emotions…not less than emotions…but much more. The heart is the control center of the life. It is where your deepest commitments and trusts are. It’s the things that you cherish the most…that’s what your heart is…and therefore, the things that have captured the imagination…and control you… mind, will, and emotions. Therefore, if you say, ‘oh, I know God loves me,’ yet you still live a life of shame and failure, you don’t have a sense on the heart of His love for you…or you’d be living with confidence. Your life would be shaped from the inside out.
Or, if you say, ‘oh, I know God is wise and powerful,’ yet you’re always scared and anxious…you’re always worried about this, and about that…you’re worried about money…you’re worried about your children…or…’oh, I know God’s wise…I know God’s powerful’…YET, you’re not seeing His wisdom…then you’re not really seeing His power and His wisdom as the massive majestic thing that overshadows all other threats, so that you actually live your life with boldness. Until that happens…until you taste…until you see…until you grasp His love…and His power…and His greatness…until you feast…until you feast on Him…you haven’t gotten ‘it.’ Jesus says: “Behold I stand at the door and knock…if any man will open and come in to me, then I will eat with him,” (Rev 3:20). Not just that I’ll visit with him. What’s all this sensory language about? Jesus is saying, ‘I come to bring you festival joy…I come to bring you the experience of God’s love and the experience of His reality…a reality that so shapes you through joy that you won’t live like you used to live. That’s what I bring. Take responsibility for it…’cause that’s what I come to offer.’ That’s what He offers…festival joy.
How He Provides It
How He provides it is seen in how He actually gives the wine. In verse 3, ‘when the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to Him, they have no more wine.’ That’s a very reasonable request. Mary certainly knew that it was a social and cultural disaster. She went to Jesus (even though she had yet to learn of the fullness of who He was…but she certainly had more of a sense than anyone else that there was hidden power in Jesus…and she knew He was a loving man…she knew He had a certain power) and so she asked Him if He could do something about it…about the catering disaster. What was His response? Now, the NIV as well as most other translations don’t seem to want to get across to us the ‘rudeness of Jesus at this moment.’ It says “Dear woman’ (but that’s not what He says…the word ‘dear’ is not in there…He doesn’t say ‘Mother’…He doesn’t say ‘Mom’) He says, “WOMAN!” That’s all He says. “WOMAN!” It’s very brusque…emotionally brusque. ‘Woman…why do you involve Me?” …very sharp and very harsh…and clearly Jesus is troubled by something. What is it? “My time has not yet come.” Now, what is going on here?
If you’re young and you’re single…like Jesus…(and by the way, Jesus was 30 and certainly people at that time and in that culture were asking constantly, ‘why aren’t you married yet?…all the time…constantly.) So, if you’re young and you’re single…and especially if you live in a traditional culture…(though you pretty much feel it anytime at any place)…and you go to a wedding…what are you probably thinking about? You’re going to be thinking about your own wedding. When will it be? Will it ever be? Who will it be with? And of course that can happen…you’re your mind’s a million miles away as you’re sitting there…at the wedding…thinking about another wedding. But, if Jesus is really thinking about His wedding…because of His self-consciousness…He would be much more profoundly stirred than you and I would be, and here’s why.
All through the Old Testament…all through the Hebrew Scriptures, God tells us that He does not just want to relate to us as a King to subjects…or as a shepherd to sheep…or even as a father to children. He wants to have such a profoundly loving, close, and intimate relationship with us…He wants to relate to us as a husband to his wife. Therefore, in an astonishing number of places…like Isaiah 62, Hosea 2, Ezekiel 16, and Jeremiah 2, God calls Himself the bridegroom of His people. With that understanding, do you realize the audacity of what Jesus said? There’s another place in the Gospels in which people were coming to Jesus saying, ‘hey look, your disciples don’t fast…and they don’t pray…and they don’t do all the various sorts of spiritual disciplines that other disciples do,’ and Jesus says, ‘No, No.’ “Do the friends of the bridegroom fast when He is still with them?” He calls Himself the Bridegroom!! In John 3, the people came to John the Baptist and said, ‘hey, you used to be the big prophet in town, and now everybody’s going after Jesus…doesn’t that bother you? Everybody’s following Jesus…everybody’s following Jesus.’ What’s John’s response? He says, ‘of course…the bride is for the bridegroom. I’m just the best man.’
Jesus Christ was probably sitting at that wedding feast thinking about what John the writer tells us at the end of the Bible in Revelation chapter 21, where we read: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. Jesus Christ is thinking about that great day in the future when His people, His bride, will fall into His arms…in unity and embrace. But…why is He troubled? Why does he say, “WOMAN,” and why does He say, “My time has not yet come”? Certainly for many years when I read this I thought it meant…what you probably think it meant…’it’s not My time to do a miracle.’ ‘Mom, it’s not time to do a miracle.’ But, He immediately turns around and does it. And therefore, I don’t think that’s what He was saying. I don’t think Jesus related to His Mother the same way you and I do our mothers. It’s not, ‘oh, Mom, no…oh, Mom, no! No, Mom, no…I’m not going to do it…well, alright!!’ But there’s no indication that that was how He was responding to her then…because, when He says, ‘my time has not yet come,’ He actually uses the Greek term that literally means “My hour” has not yet come.
Every single place in the book of John where Jesus uses the term “hour,”…
…He is referring to the hour of His death. Wait a minute, now! Now we suddenly realize it’s not as much of a non sequitur as we’ve thought…though it still looks pretty weird. She comes up to Him and says, ‘Jesus…they have no wine.’ And Jesus says, ‘…but it’s not My time to die yet.’ Jesus is thinking of another wedding…and He’s saying, ‘Mom, the only way that I’m going to have wine at My wedding feast…the only way I’m going to be able to lift the cup of festal joy, and have my spouse fall into My arms at My wedding feast…is, I’m going to have to die. And if you think, ‘that’s not what He’s thinking, that I’m reading it in’…I want you to see…how much clearer could He be, when He goes ahead and does the miracle…He’s thinking about another feast …another wedding, another kind of wine of which this wedding…and this wine is just the image.
But when He turns, and starts to create the wine for this wedding feast, notice where He goes. John says, “nearby stood six stone water jars’…the kind used by Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 gallons. And Jesus said, ‘fill those jars with water.’ Jesus deliberately chooses the jars that were used for ceremonial washing. ‘What do you mean, ceremonial washing?’ When the Jews went into worship God, they would wash ceremonially with water. It was a symbol of the fact that they were sinful. And they needed to be cleansed if God was going to embrace them in love. This is what Jesus Christ is saying: ‘Mom, the only way that My people are going to fall into My arms, the only way I’m going to embrace them and love them, the only way I’m going be able to lift the cup of festival joy with them, is if I drink the cup of eternal justice for them.’ ‘This,’ He said on the night of the Last Supper…’This wine is my blood.’ ‘Let this cup pass from Me,’ He said to the Father. What He was saying was, ‘the only way I’m going to have My spouse…My love…’ …the only way we’re ever going to fall into His arms and know the absolute unity of oneness with Him and know His love and know that joy…is if He, first of all sheds His blood. He can only raise the cup of festival joy with us if He first drinks the cup of eternal justice…all by Himself. And that’s what He’s thinking about!
Do you know what this means? Do you know the implications of Jesus as the bridegroom? Every single time God chooses an image for Himself, He is saying something about us. For example, when He says, “I am the Shepherd”…He’s saying, “you’re stupid. You’re sheep.” I am the King. You’re subjects. I am the bridegroom. You’re My bride. What’s He saying about us? One of the things most intriguing to me about wedding customs is that there are some wedding customs that, pretty much universal…one of them is that the bride is absolutely bedecked with colors, and with jewelry, and with the most beautiful garments, and with cosmetics…AND, the bridegroom is not allowed to see her until the last minute. The best man sees her…everyone else sees her…in various stages of becoming more and more beautiful…bit by bit by bit, but not the bridegroom. Why? So that when the bridegroom is standing at the altar, and around the corner the bride comes, everything that’s happened on that day, is to create…A POWERFUL IMPACT…of beauty…on the bridegroom. The sense of her beauty, on his heart…when she starts down the aisle, he’s ravished…he’s delighted…she looks more beautiful than he’s ever seen her look…he wants to throw himself at her feet…he wants to not only promise undying faithfulness…but perhaps dying faithfulness…and he wants to give her the world…if he could.
How dare Jesus Christ call Himself the bridegroom…how dare He use this metaphor? He better mean it. And He does. He is saying, ‘I’m that ravished with your beauty…I’m that delighted with you…’ and if He’s that ravished with our beauty…and He’s that delighted in us…and He loves us like that…and He wants to give us the world…He will. And that’s the reason why we’re told…you become the spouse of Jesus Christ…you’re betrothed to Him, the minute you look at Him and you say, ‘with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor You. I give myself to You.’ And on the wedding day…the last day…the day of the Great Feast…we will fall into His arms…on that day, the universe is consummated…not just our marriage. History IS consummated. Everything sad is going to come untrue. The power of the loving union between us is going to transform the world and make it a new heavens and a new earth. That’s what it means…and, that is the wine.
Are you living on bread and water? Jesus is my King! I need to obey Him. Jesus is my Shepherd…He takes care of me. Do you have the wine? Do you believe Scripture when it says, “Be glad O daughter of Jerusalem…the Lord has taken away your punishment…He takes great delight in you…He quiets us with His love…He rejoices over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:14-17)? Do you taste that? Do you see that? That…by the power of the Holy Spirit, is what is being shed abroad in your heart. That’s the feast. The feast begins now…IT BEGINS NOW…the wine begins to flow now; the joy begins to shape your life now. Live in the reality of that!! That’s what He offers and how He provides it.
How We Can Receive It
There are many ways of applying this, but I would like to just apply what we’ve learned here to your prayer life. Your prayer life!! Let me give you five ways in which the knowledge of what Jesus came to offer and how He provides it should transform your prayer life.
Saving prayer. Some of you have been attending church for weeks. It might be time for you to cross ‘the line.’ Do you know what it means to become a Christian? We’ve got a beautiful picture of it here in verses 9 and 10. What do we see? What we see is, “then the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine; he did not realize where it had come from; and then he called the bridegroom’ (of course the bridegroom’s family were the ones who’d allowed the ‘catering disaster’)…he called the bridegroom and said, ‘everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink ‘ (this really happened…who would make up such a story?) …’you have saved the best ‘til now.’ Guess what!! Jesus does the work and the bridegroom gets all the credit. And that’s what it means to be a Christian.
Don’t you dare say: ‘Oh, Lord, I would love to have a relationship with You. I’ve tried very hard and I’ve ticked off all the lists…the party’s going fine…and I’ve really worked very hard…now would you please reward me for all of my hard work.’ That’s not how you become a Christian. You have to say, “I’ve absolutely blown it. I’M OUT!! I don’t just have to be ‘topped off here’…now that I’m out of wine…out of joy…I’m out!! Give me credit for what Jesus has done. Jesus has gone to the cross. Jesus has provided the wine. Jesus has shed his blood. Jesus has lived the life I should have lived and died the death I should have died. Now, for Jesus’ sake, love me. Give me credit for what Jesus has done.” And that’s what it means to be a Christian. If you don’t understand that, you’re always going to be anxious. You’re not going to experience wine…it’ll always be bread and water. You’re always going to be wondering whether you’ve lived a good enough life. No! No! Learn to say a saving prayer. Admit that you are out…admit that you need salvation…and ask for credit for what Jesus Christ has done…in other words, ask God to transfer to you what Jesus has done to your account.
Petitionary prayer. You know what I love about this passage? Remember what I mentioned earlier about Reynolds Price’s comment “a lot of people are scratching their heads…’this seems so unworthy of Jesus…to use His divine power just to deal with a catering disaster.’” Do you realize what this means? When you really love someone, you care about the little things in their life. You care about little inconveniences…little things that are clearly hurting them…or wringing their heart…making them feel downcast that day. If you really love someone you don’t just care about the big things…you care about the little things as well. Jesus Christ did not think it was a poor use of His divine power and precious time…did not think it was a bad use of His time…to ‘wipe egg off the face’ of two disorganized teenagers. That’s what you’ve got here. Two disorganized teenagers who are basically going to be embarrassed for a while. Does Jesus say, ‘I’ve got bigger fish to fry! I’m the incarnate Son of God…I’m down here to save the world…gimme a break?!’ He never does that! Of course not…He loves them. And if Jesus Christ, comes into your life, with omnipotent power, and yet shows love that detailed…with that kind of care for you, I don’t know what you should be afraid of. So, go to Him with little things. Don’t think there’s anything too small to bring to Him. Don’t say, ‘oh, I can only go to Him with big things.’ No…what this means is that He comes into your life and He cares about everything…every part. So…go to him with everything. Pray without ceasing
Patient prayer. Look…Mary goes to Jesus with a reasonable request…’could you help me with this problem.’ First, He yells at her, “Woman!” Secondly He says something which is totally cryptic and confusing…”My time is not yet come.” Third…He sends everyone off to fill the ceremonial jars with water—which seemingly has nothing to do with the problem. There you have a beautiful picture of the future of your Christian life. Year after year you’re going to ask God for things…and He’s either going to seemingly brush you off, or say confusing things to you, or just fill your life with tasks that you think have nothing to do with what you really need. This is your future!! So respond the way Mary responded…because, what does Mary do? What a lot of us do, we get in a huff, saying: ‘I work my fingers to the bone for you Jesus, and what thanks do I get.’ That’s what a mother can often do: ‘You little…I wiped your nose…I wiped your behind, I’M YOUR MOTHER! You don’t have any right to talk to me like that.’
Oh, yes He does. You know why? She remembers the angels. She remembers there are infinities and immensities in Him that have not yet been revealed. What looks to you like red herrings…things He’s sending into your life that you are sure you don’t need. YOU need to remember the angels…YOU need to remember who He is, and you need to do what Mary did! What exactly does she do? He’s abrupt to her…He’s harsh to her…He’s seems to be brushing her off…He’s confusing…so what does SHE do? She says, “do whatever He says.” Whether it makes sense or not…whether it fits into your agenda or not…do whatever He says…and remember the angels. When you’re in trouble…when everything is going wrong…you’re filled with disappointment and you’re ready to give up…or even give up on God, just do…whatever He says. Remember the angels. Follow Mary. Be patient.
Perspective prayer. Jesus deals with the present by looking to the future. For Him that meant constant sorrow…but for us it means power and joy. Many years ago I heard Edmund Clowney preach a sermon on this text, and at one point in the sermon he said this…and suddenly the entire passage made sense to me…actually the basis for this whole message: “Jesus sat amidst all the joy sipping the coming sorrow so that today you and I can sit amidst all this world’s sorrow sipping the coming joy.” The reason why Jesus…in the midst of all the happiness…was sad…was because He was living in the present…in light of the future. But, Jesus sat amidst all that joy, sipping the coming experience…tasting the coming sorrow…so that you and I can sit in the midst of the worst sorrow…and handle it…because we’re sipping…we’re experiencing…tasting…to some degree, the coming joy. In fact, we’ve got a stability now because of that coming joy.
Every time you take the Lord’s Supper…and the Spirit of God makes it real to you, you are getting an hors d’oeuvre…you’re getting a foretaste of that incredible feast. You can apply this to marriage. There…Jesus Christ at a wedding…and He’s not married yet…and He’s got this kind of faraway look… Think about this…many of us are unhappy about marriage because we’re not married and want to be. Many others of us are unhappy about marriage because we’re in a marriage and it’s not a good one…and that’s a large portion of the human race. So, very often marriage is just…a source of great pain…but sit in the midst of your sorrow sipping the coming joy. There is only one lover…there is only one spouse, who can really give your heart all that your heart needs, and He awaits you. There is only one marriage feast that will really, really finally fulfill every fiber of your being, and it’s guaranteed to you…it awaits you. Only if you sit…sipping that coming joy, will you be able to handle the great disappointment of a bad marriage. In fact, I must say, even those of us who are experiencing pretty good marriages, need to do it…otherwise we’ll put a burden on the spouse that no human being can possibly bear. We’re going to make our spouse have to be practically perfect…because all our hopes and all of our happiness and all of our sense of self-worth come from that person…and that will destroy even a good marriage. Sit in the midst of this world… tasting that coming joy, and you will have something that will enable you to face anything.
Presence prayer. This entire passage is here to say, when you pray, don’t just pray, ‘give me this and give me that…help Mommy…help Daddy…help Aunt Gertrude’…go for the wine. Stop settling for bread and water. Dwight Moody, a minister in Chicago in the late 1800s… his church was destroyed by the great Chicago fire of 1871. Many of his people’s homes were destroyed by the fire. After that disaster, Moody went into a period of depression. For him, there was a great sense of weakness and despondency, and he couldn’t lift it. As it would turn out, he was here…in New York City…raising money to rebuild homes and the church in Chicago, and he was praying:
Oh, Lord, become a reality to me. I’m on bread and water. Give me the wine!” Interestingly enough, one day he recounts: “One day in the city of New York… oh what a day…I can’t describe it. I seldom refer to it. It’s almost too sacred an experience to name. I can only say that I had such an experience of God’s love that I had to ask Him to stop. I would not now be placed back where I was before that experience if you should give me all the world.”
This is an amazing statement. What he was actually saying was, ‘I was pretty happy…and then I became depressed…and then because of that depression…I had an experience of God’s love…that was worth the depression to have. I would never want to go back to the way I was before.’ Do you know anything of that? Do you know that wine? Isaac Watts wrote a hymn[xliv], the opening line of which goes like this:
The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
A thousand sacred sweets! Take responsibility…take some responsibility for your joy.