A Lenten Journey:
Wine Spilled and Grace Multiplied
What happened that Sunday was one of those serendipitous “accidents” that spoke volumes in terms of message. The sanctuary at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church was full, the pastor preached a powerful message challenging people to live as fully engaged followers of Jesus, and a palpable “buzz” of vibrant life animated the church campus.
People listened, prayers were offered, hymns were sung, and then the elders came forward to help serve The Lord’s Supper: the bread broken and the wine poured, symbolizing the powerful invitation of Jesus – not just to remember but to participate. Rebekah broke the bread, she held up the cup, she put the elements back on the table. But then the cup leaned precariously for a moment before toppling, and the wine spilled, flowing everywhere, staining the pure white linen cloth, soaking the remaining bread.
There was a long pause. Then the minister looked out over the congregation, and instead of being mortified she said, “Look! I baptized the communion table!”
It was true. The symbols came together and, beautifully, they spoke as one.
Not just covering the table with wine, but covering the table with grace – and isn’t that the point? Isn’t that the point of the bread and the wine, that the symbols of Christ’s death are necessarily messy, getting all over everything, not containable in a cup, or a ceremony, or a church, or a denomination – maybe not even a doctrine if it is too narrowly conceived?
The water; the font; the table; the bread; the wine; the invitation. Wine spilled and grace multiplied.
Derek is a North Carolina-based writer, journalist, teacher and speaker. He is the author of numerous books on what the Bible reveals as essential in becoming a man of God.
He is convinced that his four grandchildren are exactly the hope and promise that this world needs. His conviction is important to understand because it reveals a lot about his theology, and how he believes our identity as God’s children plays out in the day-to-day experience of living in a world where darkness, disappointment, and defeat are all too common.
He is a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life. His passion is to connect people – men and women – with a more vibrant, authentic experience of what he calls “The Life-Charged Life.”
Reading between the Lines, With Derek Maul is published every Wednesday on Christian Grandfather Magazine.
Photos contributed by Derek Maul and used with his permission.