“9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’” -John 2:9-10
I have 3 theological degrees that I’ve worked hard on, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate. I’ve put in a lot of time reading, studying, writing and thinking theologically over the years. I’ve studied both the Old and New Testaments, the Ancient Scriptures in their original languages. I’ve done a deep dive into ancient cultures, contexts and nuances that the narratives of the Bible come from for clear understanding. After all of this, I’ve come to this very eloquent and pastoral conclusion: Religion Sucks.
Often we take the deep mysteries and secrets to the life that Jesus came to reveal to us and turned them into petty religious systems of control, a fear of intimacy, a taming down of the recklessness of the Kingdom of God and a staunchly cold ordering of things shrouded in holy mystery. Man-made fearful religions suck the life out of all things good. There is an intelligent claim that God created all things but then we return the favor and create Him in our image. A dumbing down of wonders far beyond us.
I just don’t want to lose the wonder of it all. I don’t want to lose ‘Good Wine Jesus’. The one who knows how to party. The one who is rooted in truth, walks around unaffected by the storms of life and anchors deep, I want to hold onto him. The one who treats all the party-goers with grace, love, mercy and cares for the beauty of ‘the other’. Doesn’t draw up borders, doesn’t stick to the cliques, doesn’t associate with the socially high in status, but makes a neighbor of everyone at the party. He doesn’t draw attention to himself, he isn’t haughty, even his miracle is done in secret. He listens, he connects, he celebrates, he loves, he has compassion, he spreads joy. He is ‘Good Wine Jesus’.
I don’t know where you are today in your faith journey, or the questions your soul is asking of you in your world. I just want to say as one who represents the Church at large, I’m sorry that Religion Sucks. I’m experiencing a Good Wine Jesus today and I’d love to invite all to the party to enjoy and find satisfaction. Cheers!