Blog Banner

Do You Think You’ll Age Like Wine?

Do You Think You'll Age Like Wine?
Christianity is a wine-soaked religion. My teetotalling Quaker ancestors did their level best to rid the world of alcohol. Still, the pages of the Bible are full of references to the drink.

Jesus’ ministry began and concluded with celebration. He kept a wedding party going strong into the night when he transformed water into wine. And when his time on earth was almost up, Jesus enjoyed a simple passover meal with his disciples. He offered them bread as his body, and wine as his blood.

The Hebrew scriptures say that the life of a creature is its blood. What is wine, that Jesus would offer it to us as his life?

Wine is a mysterious drink. It breathes, ages, and develops over time. Even before Jesus made it a centerpiece of the Christian faith, wine has always held a religious significance. It has a life of its own.

One very interesting thing about wine is the unpredictable way it ages. It is well known that good red wine can improve dramatically over the course of several years in a cellar. What’s less commonly known is that this improvement is not always linear.

A young, bold, and aggressive wine can mellow into a refined, coordinated vintage. But open it too late, and it may have turned to vinegar. Open it too early, and it may not have the qualities you expected at all.

In the midst of all this change, there is often a “mute” period. Between the boldness of youth and the sophistication of age, the wine falls silent. If you happened to sample it during this time, you would certainly be disappointed. But wait a little longer, and you may experience a masterpiece.

Jesus himself is like wine. We experience the boldness of his teaching, healing, and rebuke to hypocritical leaders. We witness the glory of his resurrection, the power of his triumph over sin and death. And Jesus also passes through a mute period. Between the last supper and the resurrection, Jesus falls silent.

As he stood before the High Priest, he said almost nothing. Only enough for the religious tribunal to condemn him. Then he was taken before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who was astounded at how little Jesus had to say. It was as if Jesus’ fierce boldness and righteous anger had slipped away.

As he hung dying on the cross, the silence was deafening. There was no dynamic action. No sermons or healings. Angel armies did not come to the rescue. Instead, Jesus turned inward and directed himself to the God who felt so absent right then. He showed love to a fellow condemned prisoner. He consoled his disciples and his mother.

Jesus’ whole life was churning in the vortex of this “mute” time. Jesus had been faithful, and something amazing was about to happen. But as Jesus drank the muted wine of that moment, all he could taste was gall and vinegar.

In both wine and human life, this muted space is awful, mysterious, and necessary. Wine must lose what it once was in order to become what it is meant to be. Our lives must pass through brokenness and surrender. The loss and emptiness of the cross is the only path to a resurrected life.

You may be living through a muted moment in your life right now. You feel empty, shorn of the enthusiasm and excitement that once propelled you. There’s a gentle brokenness in you. It invites silence. Grounded humility comes unbidden as you repent in dust and ashes. There is peace here.

Now is a time to wait. There’s no need to open that bottle before it’s ready. Like any good wine, your life is breathing, opening. You are an unfolding mystery.

Related Posts:

What If Everything I Think I Know Is Wrong?

Can I Be Happy Without Progress?

  • charlesburchfield

    A timely word brother Micah!! I’m going through a dry spell. My creativity is on hold. Others would call it artist’s block. I face it everyday and I’m tempted to despair. Will I ever be motivated to get out of bed and make something cool again? At other times I feel I’m on an accelerated learning curve. The trajectory of such is so sudden not much can be done until arrival. And then one does not know if one will arrive this side of life to be able to do anything for anyone else. I am so selfish!! So self-promoting!! I’ve lost all my toys!! Or rather they’re all piled up in a closet and I’m bored with them!! You provided alternative narrative that puts the wine down in the cellar waiting to age right and I’m I’m grateful for now!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/274c05c98f10928d9cbcedf47e12fcdc4ea059c583f477ea0b03d9dc19571739.jpg

    • Thanks, Charles. I know the feeling!

    • Ellis Hein

      As I read your comment, I was reminded of Fox’s letter to Lady Claypool. You can see the entire text of that at https://thiswasthetruelight.wordpress.com/letter-to-lady-claypool/, but it is a little too long to post as a comment here. I had considerable trouble deciding what to leave out, and hope you will go read the whole. But here, I will only leave this edited portion:
      “Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord God, from whom life comes ; whereby thou mayst receive his strength and power to allay all blusterings, storms, and tempests. That is it which works up into patience, into innocency, into soberness, into stillness, into stayedness, into quietness, up to God, with his power. Therefore mind, that is the word of the Lord unto thee, that the authority of God thou mayst feel, and thy faith in it, to work down that which troubles thee ; for that is it which keeps peace and brings up the witness in thee, which hath been transgressed, to feel after God with his power and life, who is a God of order and peace…Therefore be still awhile from thy own thoughts, searching, seeking, desires, and imaginations, and be stayed in the principle of God in thee, that it may raise thy mind up to God, and stay it upon God, and thou wilt find strength from him, and find him to be a God at hand, a present help in the time of trouble and of need…”