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Speaking to the Soul: Wine When it is Red

Speaking to the Soul: Wine When it is Red

Week of Proper 3, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 31 (morning) // 35 (evening)

Proverbs 23:19-21,29-24:2

1 Timothy 5:17-22(23-25)

Matthew 13:31-35

Our reading from Proverbs includes a tantalizing description of a festive beverage: “wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.” Although it’s rather early for a drink right now, the details of this verse make me look forward to a deep red wine, a flute of something sparkling, or maybe even a smooth single malt at the end of the day. But the passage follows this temptation with a warning about such a drink: “At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.”

I think that those of us who practice sobriety as well as those of us who moderately imbibe can all drink in this text’s wisdom. As we face a day full of colorful, sparkling, and smooth options, will we be able to tell what is really good for us? The world offers us so much that is harmful, addictive, toxic, and destructive. Wisdom simply forewarns us about the bites and stings. In the long run, these bites and stings include everything from “redness of eyes” to “drowsiness” to “complaining” to “sorrow” and to “strife.”

Before we respond to the various stimuli in our environments, can we pause to listen for wisdom? Wisdom longs to give us rest, contentment, joy, and peace. Some of us may find those good things accompanied by a few ounces of red wine with dinner and friends or family at the end of the day. But above all, let’s remember to seek and savor what wisdom offers, rather than swallowing some sparkling alternative.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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