I wrote these reflections on the day I returned from my Pilgrimage, The Spirituality of Wine. Read on before you dismiss the idea of wine having anything to do with our Christian spirituality. Will there be wine at the wedding feast in heaven? We know there was wine at Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle.
This journey took place in three renowned, ancient regions of wine production in France and Germany. I along with 13 others shared a table of amazing food and wine, we walked through the ruins of abbeys and churches and physically touched the history of wine and the Bible.
As the days unfold stateside, this story will continue to grow. It already has changed my view of God’s very important gift of food and wine. As a Christian, I have been exploring how my beliefs translate into my everyday life here on earth. My journey to heaven begins in the present. If Christ brought heaven to earth, how then am I to live in the Kingdom of God?
The following are specific reflections I hope will offer a broader conversation about how we value this one life God has given to us.
1. “Be still and know that I am God. “ A rushed life is a shallow life that misses the delicacies at the table. To savor a sip of wine opens my senses of taste and smell to a new mystery of delight.
2. To savor is the opposite of gluttony, not starvation and aestheticism. The American way of life often creates a false continuum of overindulgence to starvation. The acceptable sin of gluttony is feeding the flesh and leaving behind the soul. When we eat and drink at the table of God, we see, smell, taste, and feel the gift of nourishment. We hear the delightful sighs of friends and family as they taste the perfection of a well-seasoned plate made from the fruits of the earth. It is partaking in the masterpiece of the chef who creates with gifts of God’s bounty.
3. Many Psalms express words of God’s bounty on earth meeting heaven. The Benedictines, who created for the glory of God, read the Psalms weekly. No wonder the beautiful work of cultivating the finest vineyards in the world and building unseen wine caves with cathedral ceilings underground are still expressing God’s glory. The abbeys and churches are today’s physical expression of how their spiritual life created lasting expression of God.
“Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
That glory may dwell in the land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
Righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
And righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
And our land will yield its increase!”
Psalm 85:9-12 ESV