Throughout the Bible, the imagery of wine is used in a positive light, like Jesus turning water into wine or the Passover cup where it symbolizes the shedding of his own blood. But the winepress itself, the process, that pressure and transformation holds other implications.
So the angel swung his scythe on the earth and stripped the grapes and gathered the vintage from the vines of the earth and cast it into the huge winepress of God’s indignation and wrath. [Amplified]
It’s not a gentle business, the pressing of grapes, or for that matter, gathering them either. In the case of true wine making, there is a particular pressure applied to avoid smashing the seeds which give a more bitter flavor. Were they as concerned in ancient times? I don’t know since it was done with feet. In any case, once the grapes are smashed, they are no longer good as grapes. They must become something else.
Generally, I have only known the kinder forms of metamorphosis. The Holy Spirit is a gentle craftsman of my heart and soul. I am forgiven daily and given many, many opportunities to try again, to learn, to grow, to change and ultimately, to become a sweet aroma to both humankind and God. I want to translate myself into a creature of love and daring.
But I also understand that kicking against the goads of God’s will for me, fighting the process, forcing my way on the path, only makes it more difficult. And so, challenges and difficulties can arise to bring me back around.
It’s hard to see and understand the God way because it’s a way of mystery and paradox. It’s the path that Indiana Jones couldn’t see over the abyss. It cannot be seen or felt until one takes that step of faith. It’s not the golden chalice but the well-worn, humble one that is the Holy Grail.
Eventually, though, a day does come in the stretch of humankind when God allows the worst to happen. Like the pain of Job who lost everything to find everything, so it will be with Earth: a great shattering.
I don’t like the idea of contemplating such a turn of events nor do I want to be there. I don’t want to be there because of my own stubborn nature. I don’t want to know the winepress of wrath.