Ferment me

From the very beginning, Jesus seems to have known what was going to happen to him… And further, he seems to have known that there was no plan “B” there was no way that the seperation between God and man could be breached, except through his death.

The fact of the crucifixion is the greatest mystery of all.  Why it would be necessary and how it works, these are mysteries we’ll illuminate at the end of the book.  For now, I’d like to explore just a little sliver of this.

I think that it’s illuminating to recognize that Jesus was the first grape to be turned to wine.  He was born into the world; metaphorically speaking, a grape growing on the vine.   He grew up in the world, just as a grape grows to maturity.

Everything that happens to a grape will have some tiny repucursion on the wine it will someday become.  If we could create the perfect environment for a grape: perfect temperature, perfect moisture levels, perfect soil… we would have the potential for these grapes to some day wield the perfect glass of wine.

Similarly, Jesus’ life needed to be perfect as well, so that the death and reseruction he was headed for could also be perfect.  If he had sinned, his sacrifice could not have applied to humanity, it would have only applied to redeeming his own mistakes.  Because he made no mistakes, he could apply his “credit” to me, and to you.

But Jesus was not born to be some grape that would be plucked, placed under wrap, and sold whole at the grocery store.  He was born a wine grape, metaphorically speaking.

A wine grape must be smashed utterly so that what lies within is brought to the outside.  And so it what was with Jesus.  But the thing is, that even if the most perfect glass ever would just sit, and may as well be a glass of dish water, if nobody ever picks it up and drinks from it.  This too, is how it is with Jesus: I believe we must take the action of picking the glass up and drinking it in order to reap the benefits of what he offers us.

And one of the things he offers is a life like his.  One of the things he calls us to is being little versions of him.  We must take him inside of us, in some way.  We must become one flesh with him in order to make this work.

For better or for worse, we do not instantly turn into Jesus by accepting him within us anymore than we instanty turn into a glass of wine by drinking it.  Taking something inside of us does effect us.  Too much alchohol gets us drunk.  To much sugar gets us diabetes.  Vitamin C increases boosts our immune system.

And so it is with Jesus.  Taking him into us impacts us.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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