Skins pop and sweet juice pours from small holes in the colander as I crush the fruit of our harvest.  As I grind and squeeze all the syrupy liquid from the pulp, I watch the outer covering become hollow, empty, waste, and I think about my own outer covering – those things to which I cling for protection and those things that I am so reluctant to surrender.  I cower behind the outer shell of pride; I think I am shielded by an over-inflated ego that hides a hollow self – a poor defense for a mirage of self-righteousness. Even those things which I believe to be the opposite of pride are often an outer covering of false humility that I am reluctant to surrender in my attempt to appear righteous.

My heart desires to be poured out, to be as sweet juice or new wine to a hurting world that needs the sweetness of truth and the reality of fermentation, but I wonder if I’m really willing to be crushed and bruised. He was crushed and bruised for us – He who had no sin – was cruelly crushed and bruised beyond recognition for my sin. And I struggle to keep my pride, I cling to my false identity; I say, “pour me out” and then I cry, “Wait! Not yet! Can I do this another way?”  I feel the gentle pressure that begins to split open the tough skin of pride and I know I must surrender self – surrender once more to the touch of the one who turned the water into the finest wine.

I know I cannot be poured out; I cannot be honest and real until I am willing to be raw, but He laid His bare skin open raw for me – He hung naked and raw – for me.  And I still wonder – in this long, slow process of sanctification I wonder – am I willing to be crushed and bruised so that others may drink of sweet juice and taste the rich goodness of the one who turns the ordinary unto something fit for the finest of all weddings?