We are happy to share with you a Love Letter to CANA, from the perspective of a servant! It comes from the United States and is signed by Debbie GISH who, with her husband Dale, are leading CANA in California. May God bless each CANA Week.

“We have a treasure in earthen vessels to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.”  II Corinthians 4:7


“…every vessel we create to hold the treasure is earthen, finite, and flawed, and is never, ever to be confused with the treasure itself.”  Parker Palmer

Debbie GISH, CANA California, USA

May God bless each CANA Week

I love CANA and I love the CANA Week.  Ask anyone who knows me well or not so well.  I have been a walking advertisement ever since Dale and I attended in 2015 when just three couples hosted three more couples in a rented cabin in the mountains of Northern California.  During our session I fell in love with the beauty, simplicity and profundity of the CANA Week journey, and while serving each summer since, have seen and experienced the transforming work of God there more than anywhere else in my life. 

The story of the wedding at Cana never gets old to me.  It’s such a powerful story that always seems to touch the couples and is the perfect introduction to the week.  But it has become an even more powerful story to me as I’ve returned year after year to serve, recognizing that it is the servants who obeyed and filled the jars with water even though what was needed and missing was wine.  And it was the servants who actually witnessed the miracle.  The bride and groom were blessed by the miracle, as are the couples during the CANA Week, but it’s the servants who participate in the miracle and witness the miracle even though in all likelihood they were not allowed to partake of this amazing wine. 

Every year as we ready the jars that form of structures, teachings, testimonies and the various elements of the week’s journey, I am amazed at how well-crafted the CANA Week jars are!  They aren’t fancy; they are durable; they can be lifted and carried and filled in so many different contexts around the globe. They are solid, but somehow flexible and adaptable. They faithfully hold whatever water we manage to find and pour into them.  And I can testify that the miracle seems to always come in some form or another, touching each couple and individual even if it doesn’t heal all wounds or all marriages.

This morning I read II Corinthians 4:7: “We have a treasure in earthen vessels to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.” As a long-time student of the water-to-wine story, I couldn’t help but think of the wedding at Cana.  It’s so easy to forget that the journey we offer couples is just an earthen vessel, one that God has graciously chosen to fill with new wine over and over again.  We need to constantly remember that the CANA Week form and structure is just an earthen vessel, as are we the servants, and that the treasure and transcendent power belongs to God.

I remember our first CANA Week in service. Dear Fr. Christophe was our guide.  He was insistent that we hold the contents of the week loosely because things could change depending on the needs of the couples, etc.  I didn’t believe him since the week was so well planned and structured.

But it was true.  Changes did need to be made.  Fr. Christophe was determined to stay alert to the Spirit and to what the couples needed.  He was a wonderful role model of how to remember and not forget that the structures of the week are mere earthen vessels meant to hold and carry the transcendent power of God.

The II Corinthians passage goes on to say: “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God who said “Let light shine in out of darkness” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” II Corinthians 4:5

May God bless each CANA Week this summer throughout the globe and may we, the servants, not forget that we are earthen vessels and that the structures of the week are earthen vessels, but that they and we hold a dear and lasting treasure, the transcendent power of God.