Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The struggle about the wine

Today was the eighteenth day that I have written about Luke 5:37 and the business of new wine and fresh wineskins. I've agonized over this series as with none previously. During the fifteen years of my prolific writing career, nothing has been this hard. I've worried that I was giving a bad impression. I've feared that I, the adult daughter of an addict, might lead someone into a potentially addicting substance. I've been concerned that my college-student son might see the series as an excuse to drink alcohol with abandon. I dispaired over giving instruction without seeming to give permission.

Late this afternoon, my boss and I were discussing the series. "You've written about everything but the wine. When are you going to get to the wine?" he asked. After my absurd litany of excuses about the writing, he said something so profound. "Why is the wine so hard? Jesus held out the wine and said 'This is My blood, shed for you.'  It's all about the blood of Jesus and THAT is what matters. You don't have to be afraid of the blood of Christ."  

Indeed. Somehow, I've been frightened by what man has made of what Jesus died to give... His lifeblood that set me free. Jesus drank wine, Jesus made wine, Jesus was the wine. In that last Seder meal, He was the cup of Redemption. The wine in that cup was a beautiful symbol of what Jesus would soon spill on their behalf.  On my behalf. On your behalf. 

As the disciples watched from afar while blood dripped down His head from the piercing of the crown of thorns, they must have remembered that Cup of Redemption. I doubt red wine ever looked the same to them again. It would, forever after, be a reminder of all Christ taught, all He gave, all He would share when they joined Him in eternity. 

In the same way that Jesus turned water to wine at Cana, He turns our communion wine, our Cup of Redemption, to His blood. It is a mystery I will never fully understand, and one I will never need to understand. It is a symbol and a divine transformation that Jesus chose, and that is enough for me. It is faith in the redemptive blood of Christ that sets me free, and there is nothing to fear. 

I've suddenly understood, after eighteen agonizing days, that, when I'm writing about wine, I'm really writing about the blood of Christ, and there is no more precious topic in this world. Like the disciples, wine will never look the same to me again. 

I learned it as a little girl, and I'm reminded of it again tonight. "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."