Monday, November 21, 2016

The Great Wine Press of God’s Fury

By Melanie Rigney

Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire, and cried out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and cut clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage. He threw it into the great winepress of God’s fury.  (Revelation 14:17-19)

The Lord comes to judge the earth. (Psalm 96:13b)

Then they asked (Jesus), “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and “The time has come.’ Do not follow them!” (Luke 21:7-8)

Lord, press my sins so that the wine inside may serve You.

Wine making was not for the weak at the time the Book of Revelation was being
written. The grapes would be placed in some sort of basin and stomped—and stomped and stomped. The liquid would be caught as runoff in containers. Then, the liquid would be fermented. The better the stomping, the more liquid. When the grapes were harvested would make a difference. How well they were pressed would make a difference. It was a backbreaking process, but the wine was worth it, whether it was used for religious, medicinal, or social purposes. Or at least, the people making the wine hoped it would be.

In the same way, our vanities and sins, large and small, are headed for the Lord’s great wine press. However, our wrongdoings don’t improve with age. Rather, waiting for  a sign that the time is right to seek God’s forgiveness or to start anew only results in bitterness and anxiety… and still more distance. As we approach Advent, may we be patient in our waiting—but never tarry in going to the Lord for correction, mercy, and love.

Don’t wait for signs of the end times. Go to confession today, or talk with a spiritual adviser about what God needs to stomp out of your soul.

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