Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Wine that Goes with the Host...
In my first parish we used something similar but a tad less sweet -- just as deep, dark red. We switched to an amber wine, a muscatel that was neither sweet nor dry. At first I heard complaints that it did not look like blood. I reminded them that only those who believed it was a sign which should look like what was being signed cared about this and that for Lutherans it was the Word with the element that gave us the confidence that this wine was Christ's holy and precious blood. The altar guild loved the change. A cranky old German in the congregation told me nobody cared what the altar guild thought, that it was just a bunch of women anyhow, and to go back to the previous wine. We did not. Not a few folks admitted that early on Sunday morning the previous sweet wine was a smell almost too much to take and they, too, appreciated this switch.
In my second and current parish, I found them using concord grape wine that was both sweet and deep red. After a time we switched to another amber wine, much less sweet but certainly not dry, from the same vintner and also from a concord grape (albeit white). It is not my favorite flavor but it is serviceable. Again I found a few who thought the wine should look like the color of blood but again I explained to them that this was a Reformed idea and not a Lutheran one -- it matters not what the wine looks like (though it does matter if it is grape or not). Our confidence that this cup is the cup of blessing and our participation in the blood of Christ comes from the Word with the element.
What wine does your parish use? Is it red, sweet, white, dry, amber, semi-sweet? Are you satisfied? What would you use if you could change (price, availability, etc. all being equal)?