I walked a library book home today. Maple trees, shot through with red, swayed in the warm breeze. Summer, friends, is almost over. Looking at the forecast for the next 10 days, I see a lot of “chance of rain showers” listed. Didn’t see many of those during our beloved steamy months.
The fallen leaves drift on the gusts. They crunch under my feet. Summer and fall, now caught in a tug-of-war. We all know fall will win. But for now, summer holds on tight, her stiletto heels puncturing the lush green grass.
The air smells…fermented. I catch a whiff of sun-ripened grapes. I close my eyes and picture them, dusky and plump, lingering on the neighbor’s vine. They weigh down the leafy green vines. Clusters dangle, tantalizing bees and birds alike.
The definition of fermentation, I’ve read, is:
the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.
the process of fermentation involved in the making of beer, wine, and liquor, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol.
The air did seem effervescent, almost bubbly. The sky appears as a hazy blue shield. Change is in the air. Organisms – leaves, flowers and such – begin to die off even as they peak. This goes on quietly, but steadily. Death of one thing gives rise to another. Grapes turn into wine. Leaven “wakes up” bread so it rises. Yeast sort of eats the sugar in the dough and off-gasses alcohol, creating fermentation (vocabulary.com).
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” – Matthew 26:26-29
At the Last Supper, Jesus used bread and wine to illustrate His body and His blood. The creation of both involved a fermentation process, one thing becoming something totally different. I’d always thought, Well, this is just what they ate. But I think there’s more here. They remind us that His body, broken on the cross, served as our living sacrifice. His blood cleanses our sin. Jesus once lived and walked the earth. His death and then resurrection made it possible for us to live again in new life. Jesus had to undergo a transformation in order to become our Savior. He couldn’t stay a “God in a bod” and be the connecting link to the Father. He had to die and rise again, overcoming death and disease.
And so we have hope. We start out in these frail human bodies. Through Christ, we trust on the other side of this life we will have heavenly bodies, know no sorrow and gain joy eternal. We shall undergo a transformation of our own.