Appreciating the Cup by Lenny Cacchio

My grandfather brought to this country his personal, wonderful tradition, which was the art of wine-making. And he couldn’t have picked a better part of the world to ply this skill, for he settled in New York State, home to some of the best wine-making grapes in the country.

He held nothing back when pursuing this passion, including a trip to the country to buy fresh grapes and carting them back to his basement in town. I remember the elaborate apparatus where he squeezed the juice from the grapes, the fermentation process, and the barrels of red wine that were the result.

One time – I must have been eight or nine years old – I was rummaging around his house and coming across a gallon jug into which he had drawn some of his new wine. There was no one around, so I got to wondering how the stuff might taste. Was it sweet? Was it smooth? What was the fascination that adults held for this homemade concoction? So I took off the cap, tilted back, and let the light red fluid pass my lips and touch my awaiting pallet.

I distinctly remember my reaction: “How can anybody drink this stuff?” My eight-year-old taste buds revolted at the dry bite. A good wine was something that I just wasn’t capable of appreciating at the time.

It is curious that Jesus compared his blood to the fruit of the vine. His blood was shed for us, but to many this idea is pure foolishness. Just like wine, one must develop an appreciation for it, and that can only come through age and experience. Rummaging around the attic and stumbling across it is just not enough. It must sink down to our innermost being, and we must savor it sip by sip.

Along with the Apostle Paul, I must admit that when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man I put away the childish things. And I came to a deeper appreciation for the need of a Savior. My tastes were more attuned to the nuances of the blood of Christ.

These days a good bottle of wine is part of the enjoyment of life. It took time to develop the taste for it. I would give a lot to go back and sample my grandfather’s creation and experience it with a more appreciative attitude. That opportunity is gone. But the cup from which I now drink is richer than any cup my grandfather could have given me.

Lenny C.

Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, January, 26, 2007, by Lenny Cacchio. 
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