For those of us who like wine there are two types of wine drinkers. No, I am not talking about red-white, box-bottle, cork-screw cap, but rather, Old World and New World. For example if you prefer your wine to come from France, Italy, Germany or Spain you are a fan of the Old World. However, if your preference is California wines, or Australia, New York, Chile then you are a fan of New World wines.
I am an Old World guy. When I experience the clarity of an Old World’s nose (that means “smell” for those of you who aren’t wine geeks), I literally find myself beings transported back to Bordeaux or the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. I breathe in the aroma of its terrior, its location, place in history, mineral attributes.
My wife on the other hand is New World all the way. She loves the boldness of a California Cabernet for example. What we both love is any wine that expresses its flavors and aromas distinctly and with clarity. This is often referred to as the expressiveness of a wine.
So it is also with our Christian faith. As Christians we are called to express our faith with clarity. We are called to be the salt of the earth. Like a fine wine we are called upon to declare by our words and deeds to be distinct among the crowd. This seemingly becomes harder and harder as we live out our lives in an increasingly post-Christian world.
Recently I noticed that my family felt a little uncomfortable or at least out of place as we prayed at a crowded Manhattan restaurant. People stared at us like we were aliens. At certain times in our lives all of us have sadly used various coping mechanisms to hide our faith from our colleagues. When we are completely honest there are days when we personally aren’t all that different than the other 7 billion or so fellow human beings that inhabit our planet.
To avoid being compared to the indistinguishable supermarket swill that lines the bottom shelf or those cheaper box wines, to live out our life as a Christian it is imperative that we become counter cultural.
Like the Good Samaritan we are called to cross geographical, cultural and religious boundaries to help our hurting neighbor. We are reminded that while we are in the world, we are not of the world.
The question becomes, will our lives reflect the artisanal quality of our Creator and the clear call of our baptism or are we doomed to remain luke warm?
Maybe one strategy to give us strength and encouragement and to help us live this Christian life of clarity is to “taste” God’s Word like we might a fine wine? Stay with me now. Don’t laugh yet. Think about how a wine expert “tastes” a good wine, noticing the depth of its color, smelling the cork, carefully pouring and swirling it in the glass, taking a deep whiff to experience its “nose” and finally savoring it in our mouth.
What would happen if we created similar rituals to taste the Scriptures, pondering over and treating each verse in the Bible with the same careful attention we give to tasting our wine? In doing so, through the Holy Spirit we rediscover that only God’s Word can satisfy our deepest needs as we drink deeply of His wisdom, commands, and promises, as we learn to live counter culturally as followers of Christ.
To quote the psalmist in Psalm 42, “Our soul thirsts for God and only God’s Word can satisfy our deepest needs.”