We recently went on a wine tasting tour of several wineries in our neck of the woods, Temecula, California. Here a link to one of them: Leoness Cellars. It was great, in part, because we were meeting with one of our friends involved with non-profit work in our niche (didn’t ask if I could include his name or organization, so I won’t), and we could combine business with pleasure.

Tax season brings out the best of us, doesn’t it?

Anyway, as is usually the case with wine (pun?) there was more pleasure than business. This was a moment in our hectic, sometimes fruitless schedule where we could just ‘be’ with the gifts that God provides -- beautiful scenery, great local vintages and camaraderie, without much distraction.

There is a real value to getting away into the country and benefiting from an industry that hasn’t changed much (like everything else has) in many, many years.

Things slow down.

And you gain perspective, not only on the gifts of friendship and wine and a mouth to drink it, but on the vintners, and the sommeliers and even the families who own the wineries.

What a gift.

There’s a reason why God chose to convey grace through such a simple, wonderful drink. I’m not sure I can encapsulate it, but here are a couple of thoughts...

Christian Drinking: Drinking in front of your enemies

I’m not sure why Psalm 23:1-6 came to mind while we were tasting.

Perhaps it was the stress of tax season and the money crunch we all feel. “You set a table in the presence of my enemies and my cup overflows” was not just the double image; that of sheep drinking from the overflowing Jordan in the presence of predators mixed with the image of the Psalmist celebrating Passover in the midst of political enemies, but me facing my enemies (perceived scarcity and taxes) as my friend covered for a wonderful day where our cups really did overflow. Christian drinking and enjoyment is a bulwark against the devil.

Christian Drinking: Liquid Joy

(Deuteronomy 15:14, Ecclesiastes 9:7, Nehemiah 8:10)

It is possible to forget this reminder at the communion rail. We don’t drink much there. But even a reasonable amount of the stuff can take you to a pretty happy place.

No wonder there was regularly scheduled, ceremonial drunkenness in Israel. I don’t know if my internals could handle a seven day feast, but even a little bit of this in a sober life can change your perspective and get you to see the gifts instead of the deficiencies of life. Christian drinking is a happy thing.

Christian Drinking: The Gift of Medicine

(Proverbs 31:6)

When you are sad and kind of sick and just not getting it, wine (as Paul suggests for Timothy) is a good thing. I was sad… and going out and getting some sun, trying some different wines (we went to four wineries) and breaking it up with some food and great conversation totally changed my brain! Christian Drinking can be medicine for the body and soul.

I know that, in this fallen world, some have to refrain from wine for the sake of their health. But even those who have suffered under demon alcohol and lived in the prison house of addiction hopefully realize the fermentation process and those who curate it are gifts from God. The wine of communion is a gift from God and the blood of Christ we receive at the rail an inebriant that encourages and frees us.