Saturday, April 23, 2016


Many years ago, while still a student, I was attending a worship service in the northern part of Toronto. As the student, I had no particular role in the service, just dressed in liturgical garb and ready to do what needed doing.

As people were receiving communion I noticed that the wine was getting particularly low. In fact, I was sure we would run out. The hymn we were singing continued as the priest poured some wine in a chalice and said a short prayer to consecrate more wine. The prayer can be found on Page 184 of the BAS. There you go, problem and solution tied up rather neatly.

I told this story to one of my professors the next day just as a class was about to start. He pointed out that the prayer was only there for extreme circumstances. He said that because I noticed that the wine was running out, I should have simply poured unconsecrated wine into a chalice of consecrated wine. He said that the wine would have mingled together enough that everyone receiving after that would have received some consecrated wine. Besides, he added, the consecrated wine consecrates the unconsecrated wine so that it is all consecrated. (Cuckoo-A-Choo!)

It was now past the time for the class to start but my professor took the time to explain that this story illustrates an important element of our Christian faith. The Incarnation, God taking on human flesh and dwelling amongst us, is the sacred mingling with the profane. The effect of which is that the profane no longer exists, but all is sacred.

The word profane (unholy, unsacred, secular) originally meant, outside the temple. When Jesus dies we are told that the curtain in the temple is torn in two (Matthew 27:51). What a great illustration of the desire of God to bless, to make holy, all of creation.

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