New Wine 2016

New-Wine-National-Gathering-1We were part of a small group of people from TRINITY who attended week two of New Wine, a Christian festival held in Shepton Mallet each summer. We camped but had the privilege of the facilities of a wonderful mobile home.

For us, the main joy was soaking in God’s presence and learning more about cultivating a love affair with Jesus. We spent a lot of the week in the Hungry venue, which was a quieter, more meditative space than some of the other events on offer, although we also enjoyed the amazing corporate worship with thousands of others in the main arena.

song-of-songsOne of the speakers, Charlie Cleverly, has written a commentary on the Song of Songs, and I have really been enjoying reading this. Christianity is much more than a religion – it is an intense personal relationship with our Maker and Redeemer. It is being drawn into the vortex of love, servanthood and mutual adoration which exists between the three persons of the Godhead, with each person acting as servant and lover to the other two. The Holy Spirit always points to Jesus, sublimating himself, like a spotlight illuminating Jesus. We see Jesus on earth always subservient to His Heavenly Father, always looking and pointing to what the Father is doing. Likewise, the Father’s voice comes from heaven, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus acts as the divine lover, with an intense desire to be in close relationship with His bride. Our separation from God at the fall meant that we could no longer walk with God in the cool of the evening, but the sacrifice of love on the cross means that we have been reunited with Christ, and we who were far off have been brought near. Lovers have a desire for closeness and intimacy; this is Christ’s desire for His relationship with us. However, we are ever wayward lovers: pursuing lesser gods and desires that glitter but lead only to death and separation from Christ.

BelovedWe need to create an inner temple where we commune with our lover; a space – in our minds and in our activities devoted to seeking the one our hearts desire; seeking him in the pages of scripture, in our acts of public worship and private prayer; cultivating a meekness of Spirit and purity of mind that transforms us into the beautiful lovers that Christ requires. Slowly our ugly sin-filled selves are transformed by being in the presence of the one who is altogether beautiful, to be more like our wonderful Jesus who we love and adore.

Once we have tasted and seen that the Lord is indeed good, we share all the desires that Christ has for his world. We want to share the relationship which we have; to make our love affair known. As we worship the king we want to increase the kingdom, to bring heaven down to earth, and point others to the heaven of love which is loving unity with Christ.