Stephen Imbach was the founder and director of Soulstream, a dispersed contemplative community that also trains spiritual directors.
A well-crafted wine teaches us that the world is bursting with the grandeur of God. Savoring a glass of wine reveals something of the abundant generosity of God. God could have just provided us with water, but for the joy and pleasure of his people and to reveal his extensive, loving generosity he gave us wine. Christ’s first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana was not just a happen-stance, but expresses Christ’s desire for us as community to joyfully celebrate the grandeur of God and the abundant gifts of his creation. Sharing wine in community allows us to lift our hearts toward God and to one another.
Historically, the church has been ambivalent toward our God given capacity to smell, feel and taste; setting these senses apart from spirituality. The vintner can be a tremendous aide in the recovery of our God- given senses, turning them toward a life of contemplation. Of course there will always be those who abuse the gifts of God, but a well-crafted wine encourages us to expand our senses into becoming prayer. As we enjoy the pleasure of drinking a glass of wine we are offering our delight to the God who gave us such an unnecessary, excessive gift. Enjoying God’s delightful gift of wine is truly a rich experience of worshipping our Creator.
It would be incredible to see Western Christianity embrace, without reservation, the joy of delighting in God’s gift of wine as a sincere, honest way of enhancing our relationship with God and each other.