Alcohol has been an oft-enticing mystery to me
And I have only ever put it to one use:
To clean, to sanctify.
A good and proper purpose, to be sure.
The sharply stinging formula
Has saved life and limb of many.
To only ever know the burn
Of alcohol on torn flesh
Is to ignore its equal and opposite purpose,
A different form of flame:
The blood of Christ has long been my rubbing alcohol.
May it now also be my wine?
I flinch away from the idea.
I’d rather run a thousand miles
Than accept the dangerous invitation of the drink.
How could I stop
Once it touches my lips
Once my mouth acquires its taste?
I would drink until it consumed me
And I yielded control to it.
I could drain this cup
And find my thirst unsated.
Could I survive the disappointment
Of finding the object of my hope wanting?
Despite my fears,
This undeniable thirst persists.
Water has provided for my needs
But I could drink it ‘til my stomach bursts
And still be left longing.
As the deer pants, my soul yearns
To take up the cup and drink
Until rivers stream down my face
And stain my skin red.
I would gorge myself
Just to know that I can.
Dare I risk the dangers of this fiercer drink
For the warmth of the reward it offers?
Sacrifice my faculties in search of abundance?
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
In his book Inside Out, Dr. Larry Crabb writes “It is a mistake to assume that mature Christians enjoy a perpetually satisfying experience of God. Experiencing God comes and goes according to the sovereign Spirit’s movement. Thirsting for God becomes the constant reality as a Christian matures. It follows that a thirst for God sustains us through life more than an experience of God.” This quote (and the book as a whole) encouraged me to share this poem and metaphor, which originally came together shortly after I wrote this first post.