Wineskins

I volunteered for a couple of summers as a wine steward at a local vineyard. A friend had recruited me; the high school band her children played in spent the dollars it received for my participation to fund competition trips. Learning about wines was a fascinating benefit to me. Folks would come to the vineyard festivals, and volunteers like me would spritz wine into eager tasters’ glasses and help them select wines. Knowing something about tasting wine was, needless to say, an important part of the job.

The wine tasting process involves systematic steps which tune you in to the wine, this concentration making it easier to perceive everything about it.  First, you lift the glass to observe and admire the color of the wine as the light passes through it. You then will take the first sniff—putting your nose to glass and  inhaling, noting whatever impressions you receive. The aroma consists of the intensity, concentration, expression, complexity and cleanliness of the wine. Next you swirl the wine in the glass to release further aroma; stick your nose into the glass this time and sniff hard and confidently, noting the comparisons and contrasts with that first aromatic perception. Now you taste, not a mouthful, but not just a sip. Holding the wine in your mouth, feel the weight or body of the wine, then suck air through it to aerate it, to release the volatiles. Move the wine around your mouth to warm it and give all your taste buds a chance to be excited.  Then expectorate—spitting out the wine so that you get the lingering “finish,” and can then clear the palate for the next selection. Your evaluation of the wine answers whether you enjoyed it, how balanced or in harmony you felt it all the components were, and combines your perceptions into an overall impression.

I’ve been working with the passage known as The Lord’s Prayer for quite some time now. I do this—I’ll focus all of my attention on a single verse or group of verses like a wine connoisseur sampling the wine to discover all its many layers and flavors. My delving into this section in Matthew’s gospel has included going back to the original Aramaic because I suspected that some of the wording as popularly recited might be, well, suspect. (Note: I’m not a Bible “scholar” and I think this is a good thing.) When I held it up to the light, here’s what I found:

 Oh  Thou from whom the breath of life comes

Who fills all realms of sound, and light and vibration

May your Light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

Your heavenly domain approaches.

Let your will come true—in the universe (all that vibrates) just as on earth (the material).

Give us wisdom for our daily need.

Detach the fetters of faults that bind us, like we let go of the guilt of others.

Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed

From that what keeps us off from our true purpose

From you comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act.

The song that beautifies and renews itself from age to age

Sealed in trust, faith and truth.

(I confirm with my entire being.)

  I love the sense of this. It’s harmonious in a way I don’t experience the English version to be. Overall, it offers a delightful taste with a robust finish. For another tasteful vintage, go here.

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