Drinking With Your Bible (Sample Chapter)

While we’re on the topic of Wine

It would be a shame if we didn’t bring up communion wine in a book about drinking and the scriptures.

When Jesus instituted the Lords supper He used a shared cup and said that He would not drink from the fruit of the vine again until He returned. Which brings up a very strong point. Alcohol for all its dangers and dilemmas is something ordained for use by Jesus for this purpose.

Now for the naysayers who want to add grape juice to the mix, let’s do a simple word study shall we.

Wine in Greek is “oinos”

Juice in Greek is “chymos”

The New Testament is written in Greek.
Jesus uses one but never the other.

To say one is the other by teetotaller preference is ignorant plain and simple. And that preference robbed the church of a great opportunity nobody talks about for fear of being labelled a drunkard.
And that is, the effects of communion wine on the young believer’s theology.

When a child accepts Christ as their savior and places trust in Him as their Lord and God, they are invited in almost every church body that teaches about Jesus. To join in sacrament of communion.
So in our modern age of legal drinking ages, the young believer’s first taste of alcohol would not be in the church if wine is replaced with grape juice. The fear of drunkenness from the miniscule shot glasses we serve for communion has completely removed that first sip of alcohol from the youth of the church, en masse. While there is hope that most parents wouldn’t allow their young children to get drunk at home. That they would introduce alcohol safely and in parental discretion. The small sum of real communion wine then would be permissible outside of their influence. In that the same effects of alcohol are felt in not only a safe manner and amount but in a religious manner and amount.

The child’s first sensation of Port warming their throat and chest and changing the way they physically feel in the moment, would be in the context of Christ death and resurrection for their sin. Their first “buzz” however miniscule would be in the context of Christ. And like all firsts, it would affect their seconds and thirds and every drink afterwards. That same child grown up as a teen could very well associate those physical effects of alcohol with Jesus. Those same sensations and emotions, when felt by a secular drink with friends at a party would have a Christian context to call back to and convict.

I think that is one of the reasons why Jesus used wine and not water in the Last Supper. Not just because its hue was matching of the blood that He would shed. Not just because like a drink offering in the Temple He was about to be poured out. But because the alcohol in wine changes us by intoxicating us.

We celebrate communion because of the change God made in us by sacrificing himself for our sins. That act of love should change us and we should remember it as often as we partake. It’s literally not the same thing when we throw in a bottle of grape juice in from the supermarket. There is no change aside from the contents of our stomach and that’s sad in part. That we’ve reduced the sacrament to a consumption. The breaking of bread symbolizes the breaking of Jesus body for our sins, in our place. Shouldn’t the wine symbolize the way our very souls were changed by his grace in the new covenant?

It’s that holy intoxication that draws us in and points us to Christ as the wine warms our pallet and moves through our blood to our limbs and extremities. Like the love of Christ changing our heart and our body reacting in response.

I don’t think this isn’t accidental, that Jesus made a mistake or that it’s coincidence. It’s intentional. The removal of real wine from the communion table is a tragedy, especially for our kids.

Now their first taste of fermented fruit or grains is from highly markets secular companies looking to get kids drunk on mixed drinks, light beer, and coolers. It’s in their avoidance of God or their fleeing from His church. In backyard parties and basements. In secret and all too often in sin. Unless challenged by their families their first sips of alcohol will not be in recognition of their sins, it will be in their participation of them.

By removing real wine from our services we removed a big chance of families ever talking about these things with their kids naturally. We’ve forced a legalism that necessitates an overlooking of Jesus acceptance of alcohol into our everyday theology.

A stiff drink indeed.

But one needed I think.