Over the years Christians have had a love / hate relationship to wine. There have undoubtedly been Christians who have abused alcohol and they have done so under the guise of “faith,” using a cloak of “spirituality” to cover the fact that they have genuine unresolved issues in their lives. There are some who have stood very firmly against all alcohol and they too have used the guise of “faith” but this time it hides a rules-based fixation stemming from their belief that God’s love is conditional (he will love them and work in their lives if only they can be good enough to deserve it.) Either approach misses the mark and alienates people, hurting some and turning others away from faith. The first approach implies that God is powerless to change lives and therefore Christianity is merely a load of hot air and hypocrisy, the second approach presents God as capricious, setting impossible standards for any who want to be his followers. Neither approach is adequate.
This miracle of Jesus making wine lifts the lid on a Pandora’s box of human ills just waiting to escape into the world. We avoid these questions because they are hard and they don’t fit well with our convenient image of Jesus. That convenient image includes all the nice things we want in our God and leaves out all that we don’t like. Sadly, convenient is not the same as real.
Here’s a sampler of the questions we have but aren’t sure we should ask: Read the rest of this entry