I Heard It Through the Grape Vine

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I just got fed up enough with the state of my fridge to do a purge. And then I quickly tied up the bags and took out the garbage before the sentient life forms could escape their plastic prison. Upon my return from that errand, I got fed up enough with the state of the front garden to have a go at the grape vines that had half swallowed the lilac bush and were having a go at the house.

Grape vines are a good thing, and what well-cultivated grape vines produce is a good thing, and what yeast and time does to what the vines produce is a good thing, and what the Lord Jesus does each Sunday with what the wine and yeast have done to what the vines produce is a good thing. But just as the good vines, when growing out of place, can do bad things, so can the most correct understanding (or what we think is most correct) of what Jesus does with the fruit of the vine do bad things.

In the conservative Reformed world, we see this most often among those who are so concerned about fencing the table that they neglect to point to the gate. (And Jesus, by the way, is the Gate.) And lately I’ve seen it among some people who agree the most with me — paedocommunion, wine-only, weekly celebration — who actually advocate breaking fellowship with those who haven’t come to the same understanding. They are nuts. They are scary nuts. They have got it as wrong as the quarterly, grape juice-only, gotta-memorize-the-WLC folks, only with the claim that they are all about making the table accessible to all of God’s people.

I too often succumb to the temptation to be cranky about wrongheaded approaches to the Lord’s table — gnosticism, sacerdotalism, intellectualism — but seeing someone advocating shutting out Jesus’ people in the name of welcoming Jesus’ people rightly, I find myself quite inspired to shut my trap and love my misguided brethren.

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