Watching a movie about the nativity story I glimpsed what I think is an important parallel that has been on my mind ever since. It seems to have been an ancient Hebrew custom for the groom-to-be to come to terms on a bridal price with the bride's father, which was then sealed by a toast of wine from a wedding cup. In this film Mary drank the toast along with Joseph and her father but then withdrew from the fellowship and celebration in her disappointment, because she had not been consulted in the arranged engagement(as was so often the case in those days) and felt no love for Joseph at that point. So when Christ in the garden was handed the cup by the Father(Matthew 26) he was not at first inclined to drink it, the bridal price being so high (his own lifeblood)for us his bride the church to come. Earlier the mother of John and James had come to Jesus seeking important positions for her sons. (Matthew 20) Jesus asks, "Can you drink the cup that I will soon drink?" The brothers insist they can and Jesus admits that indeed they will but the positions are not his to give. How often are we the bride of Christ like Mary in the film's interpretation, agreeing to drink with the bridegroom but then not staying around for the fellowship, the fellowship of his sufferings. Like Mary, we have to grow into the pact we have made. We have to catch up to it with a willingness to suffer in some comparatively small way. Jesus would drink the "lion's share" (Lion of Judah) of the cup like the king that he was and is, but there would be and yet will be some appropriate portion for us to swallow. Yet we can celebrate as we drink it, for in the drinking of it is the highest fellowship available on this earth.
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