Communion Meditations (2024)


Party Wine

Originally scheduled for June 16

There is a recurring suspicion that Jesus of Nazareth might just have been one of the great party animals of all time. Certainly his opponents, the Pharisees, frequently accused him of being a sinner — a winebibber and a glutton. So it might be well to state just how Jesus viewed wine. We find the story in the second chapter of the Gospel of John, when Jesus turned water into wine the wedding feast at Cana.
·      Please note first that the wine was excellent. It’s quite clear that Jesus was prodded into doing this miracle by his mother. There is no sense of petulance here, of Jesus making cheap wine at the end of a feast. Rather, it’s the good stuff.
·      Somehat less commented upon, but of great importance to the partygoers, is the quantity of wine which Jesus made. Those stone jars held at least 20 gallons apiece.
·      Most interesting of all is the fact that these are sacred jars. The water in them is used for ceremonial washing of hands. I leave it to the reader the problem of determining whether or not those who consumed the wine became holy or wholly drunk.
What does show here is Christ’s superiority. Frequently, when accused by the Pharisees, Christ’s response is simply that as long as he is around the rules do not apply. He often uses the analogy of the bridegroom being present.
This can be seen to be of great importance. We are told that the church is the bride of Christ, which makes Christ the bridegroom of the church. The union of our Lord and his church is therefore a happy and joyous one but it also is a forerunner of what is to come. Perhaps the divine style was showing through here at the wedding, looking forward to the marriage supper of the wedding of the Lamb. Details are sparse, as befits prophecy, but the divine style is well known. The wine will flow in rivers, it will be excellent wine and the party will be wonderful.
Communion looks forward to that feast. It was no accident that Christ chose wine to be the symbol of his blood, for ultimately it will bring joy to all those who have accepted him as Lord and Savior. We are to remember his sacrifice but also to look forward to his coming again. Communion looks back to the cross, but also looks forward to the second coming of Christ. That day will be a terror to some, but the redeemed will know their Savior has come.
Indeed, our Lord extends this metaphor to the point where he commands that we go out and round up all the stray people we can, bringing them into his church so that they might share the marriage supper of the Lamb — and be blessed with eternal salvation. The cup and the bread look back to his sacrifice, but also inspire us to go forward and bring salvation to all we can. 

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