Wine Pressing


Have you ever wanted to die?
Have you ever wondered what it feels like
to beg the Almighty God for death,
too scared or too selfless or too sober
to seriously consider suicide, to do it yourself,
but too broken, too bitter, 
too battered, bruised, and bombarded 
to be any more patient with the time you have left?

If you haven’t, 
allow me to give you a look behind the scenes.
I think you’ll agree that this movie is to die for.
But if you’ve had these thoughts,
if you’ve been ready to press the big red STOP button for too long,
you are not alone.
I would call you a survivor of this world, 
but that would imply that to live is to rebel,
that living is itself a victory, 
and I’m not always sure myself.
The darkness has cracked open my shell,
poured out my naivete.

But they say I’m a seed, 
and a seed cannot see its leaves when it is planted
in dirt, beneath mud, in soil, beneath ground, 
where breathing ain’t so easy.
But it is not comfortable being cracked open,
the growth process is slow, and
it doesn’t matter 
how strong or how rich the seed
because everything fades.
Every knee bows.
Every body is broken.
And whether the breaking is a just phase
or a permanent state will depend on where your hope is.

I promise you
these are not corny Christian platitudes,
I speak from experience.
I drank a glutton’s fill of bitterness,
I squirmed, I sunk, I shifted,
I started to believe my God was malicious.
Couldn’t see his blueprint,
so I resisted instruction,
dismissed the cross
‘cause I did not ask to first be devil
then a temple under construction, no — 
I asked for nothing. 
I did not sanction my first heartbeat,
did not audition for his eternal story,
I did not care for his glory,
or volunteer to be born unworthy,
I did not make myself unholy,
I was dragged into this world and
as my mind continued to plunge deeper into its cave,
away from the embrace of its Creator,
into a maze, a mental arcade with Lucifer’s favorite game,
I figured this kind of separation from Christ 
must be what it feels like 
to dip your toes in the burning lake.

I found the source of my pain,
I touched the thought of my grave and realized
that I cried
because I would rather have died
than leave my comfort zone.
over and over and over and over and over again — 
why would I submit to a God 
so determined to make me uncomfortable?
I been through battles, I ignored my trauma, 
I buried my demons, kept my scars quiet, 
I acquired a casual taste for the serpent’s bite and
I saw no help in sight,
and yet somehow, I still felt guilty, 
like I was a defective Christian.

But as I wrote these lines, 
I began to wonder why the body of Christ 
has become so corny, 
so willfully ignorant & dismissive, 
so dramatically desperate for depth yet so evidently deficient.
We have forgotten how to lament
and our religion is a prison
with a shadow of violence — 
busy bickering over foolishness 
while our members writhe in pain in silence.
Our pride is quiet,
but our 10,000 commandments are loud,
and our empathy is often nowhere to be found.
Spiritually lazy saints with hollow apologetics and forced smiles, 
you’d think the Spirit of God was out here raising cowards.

Our theology shallow, our prayers are wild,
shouting tongues in public 
but when was the last time
you picked another believer up out of the gutter and prophesied?
When was the last time
you studied a couple of verses for an hour?

Photo by nic on Unsplash