The Wine And Beer Option

May be an image of outdoors and text that says 'White Jart The White Beer, Shortage Soon Panic buy here'

Yesterday’s panic buying of petrol across the country resulted in this sign appearing outside a pub. I smiled.

This morning I read: ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer’(Micah 2:11)

There’s no need to panic buy your beer. The prophets say that there’s plenty for everyone. Sit back, eat, drink and relax. There’s nothing to worry about.

People often only read half a verse, tell half a story, jump to the conclusions they want to. The full verse reads: ‘If a liar and deceiver comes to you and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer’ he would be just the prophet for this people.’

Micah says that Israel’s God sets high standards but there were false prophets who gave an easy answer to difficult questions. Problems? The answer is plenty of wine and beer.

Problems? International global warming, terrorism, pollution, famine… National Health Service, immigration, unemployment, law and order… local economy, covid control, mental health, care homes…

The list’s endless. We look for easy answers to difficult questions. ‘If only they’d just… then our problems would be over.’

Of politicians – ‘With this piece of legislation/ economic policy…’; of educators: ‘If schools taught…’; of the health service – ‘With these resources…’; of religion: ‘If all Christians…’

…And if there are no easy answers to life’s difficult questions it’s no wonder that the wine and beer prophets are popular.

Musing on the mystery life’s complex difficulties, my faith calls me to hold two ideas in tension.

There’s the Jesus who calls the weary and anxious not to be weighed down by life’s burdens, but to come to him to enjoy his peace and rest…

…And there’s the Jesus, saying that there will be trouble in the world, left his Spirit so that his followers can know his wisdom and strength to face life’s difficult questions.

…And I’m left to decide on the wine and beer option.

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