There are things you only find out by looking through a microscope. And there are things you only find by looking through a telescope.
Metaphorically speaking, I think that in America in the year 2009, we do an outstanding job with our microscopes. I think we are not very good with the telescopes.
We’re very good at isolating events and picking them apart to see what they are made of. We are terrible, on the whole, at looking at the context and interrelations between things. And nowhere is this more true than how we approach The Bible. We’re great at taking one tiny little verse and picking it to bits. We’re not so good in understanding how this one little verse functions in the whole, or understanding how this verse is related to that one.
The book “Writing in the Sand” by Thomas Moore is equal parts fascinating and annoying. It gave me this great telescopic view of something I never noticed before.
It’s no big secret that Jesus first public miracle was the turning of water into wine. But I’d never really considered this in the context of the things Jesus says and does later. For example, there is the Lord’s Supper: Wine is no longer just wine, but it is Jesus’ blood. And there is Jesus telling us that he is the living water, and if we drink from him we will never be thirsty.
I don’t think this is precisely a cycle. It’s a little more like an apparent duality, except it’s with 3… A triality?
Jesus coming into the world is his turning the water into the wine. And his death is the turning of the wine into his blood. And his blood is the living water, from which we can drink and never grow thirsty…
I think there’s an entire book of thoughts unfolding in all this from me. The thoughts are kind of a mess right now. I’m going to jot a few down so that I can come back to this post later, to fill them out:
#1) Our boring, natural lives, outside of rebirth and Jesus are water.
#2) There is something in the process of going from grape to wine that is emblamitic of Jesus’ sacrifice and our own rebirth. In the age before wine was made thousands of miles away and purchased at a store, they would have been much more in touch with this. The grape is smashed, killed, destroyed. That which lay dormant within the grape is released through this death… and it combines with something else, in the process of fermentation, to create a substance which, when imbided, brings us outside (a little bit) of our mundane reality.
#3) The term “Christian” etymological means “little Christ” and it was originally meant as an insult. The early Christian community doesn’t seem to have resisted it, though. I wonder if they thought “Yup. That about sums it up… That’s what we want to be, little Christs.” Jesus is the vine, we are the branches.