A wedding feast in Galilee (website only)

Authors & translators:
Nicholls, Ken


A wedding feast in Galilee –
the place for Jesus’ earliest sign.
He blessed the meal, and with his power
he turned the water into wine.
And still he comes to share our lives,
to make each home a loving place
where all may speak and move and grow
in Christ's own ways and in his grace. 

May family life for ever be
A time of growth in love and care.
May young and old find all they seek,
in trust their hopes and dreams to share.
And may their table ever be
where thoughtful words bring out their best,
where laughter springs from shared events
and Christ is there a welcome guest. 

Christ's still alive in us today,
not just a myth from distant time!
He offers us sure ground for hope
and turns our water into wine.
So may this wedding now be blessed
and Jesus' presence fill each part;
his friendship come with humble power
to captivate each willing heart.

Words: © 2008 Ken Nicholls, rev. 2024
Metre: 88.88.D                  
Suggested tunes: Written with ‘Jerusalem’ in mind. Also works well with Ye banks and braes (StF 655)

Ideas for use

Including a new hymn in a wedding service is not always a comfortable experience. There may well be guests who are unfamiliar with church worship and hymn singing. However, here is a hymn that puts the example of Jesus front and centre, and does so with two alternative tunes that are both well-known to many. Jerusalem has the more celebratory feel; Ye banks and braes brings a point of stillness in the ceremony.

More information


Ken Nicholls offers a thoughtful reflection on Jesus’ miracle at a wedding feast in Cana, a village in Galilee (John 2: 1–12, pictured above by Fr George Saget, and left by Winifred Knights, Art in the Christian Tradition). Thought of as Jesus’ first recorded miracle, it is a story that has made its way into popular consciousness. (Helped in recent decades perhaps by Herod’s “turn my water into wine” jibe in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.) The gospel writer’s own focus is less on the wedding planner’s crisis than on the visual representation of grace and new life that Jesus effects, and it is this message that Ken unpacks in his hymn. 

Jesus “offers us sure ground for hope and turns our water into wine” (v.3). What this may look like in everyday life is suggested by the image of family or friends gathered round a table, sharing and laughing together in a way that brings out their best towards each other (v.2). 

The final verse opens with an assertion that “Christ's still alive in us today, not just a myth from distant time!” This echoes Brian Wren’s Easter hymn, Christ is alive! Let Christians sing (StF 297), which affirms the everyday impact of the resurrection. In this text, however – and especially if sung to the tune "Jerusalem" – Ken’s words neatly subvert the idea of Jesus trapped in the past, as for instance in William Blake’s mythological green and pleasant land. Instead, if we welcome him in, Christ remains a real and ever-present guest in our homes.


Ken Nicholls describes himself as a “French-speaking Cockney Methodist presbyter”. Now retired, Ken was born in Stepney, in the East End of London, in 1946, later moving with his parents to a new London County Council estate near South Ockendon in south Essex. “The estate had few amenities, and my parents were part of the team of adults who formed a house church which was adopted by the nearest Methodist Circuit.”

After graduating with a degree in French Literature and Language, Ken worked as a teacher before training as a minister and beginning work as presbyter in the Chelmsford circuit. He has always lived and ministered in and around London and Essex, retiring in 2011 to Thetford, where he and his wife "used our house as a retreat house for anybody under stress to come and be at peace".

In 2022, Ken published a book of poems and hymns: A Time to Speak. Also see Lord give me eyes that I may see (website only)

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