The following is an excerpt from the last chapter of Brian Zahnd’s brand new memoir Water To Wine. It’s been an honor to feature excerpts here over the last couple months, and I cannot recommend this book enough. Chapter 9 gives us a powerful, personal plea to “Come with me”:
I prayed this prayer, “O God, I want to dedicate the rest of my life to knowing you as you are revealed in Christ. As much as I can mean anything in a single moment, I mean this prayer. Help me to know you. Amen.”
As I finished my brief, but deeply honest prayer, something strange happened. I felt something in my chest. Words. I felt words, not in my mind, but in my chest – words I wanted to speak. I felt I had to say these words to someone, “Come with me. come with me and you won’t get cheated. Come with me.” It was a mystical experience, an experience I couldn’t deny or ignore.
So I started saying to people, “Come with me.”
The problem of the American evangelical church being led primarily by those who are committed to a reactive form of Christianity is widespread. It’s why so few of our best known pastors look anything like contemplative mystics. Yet contemplative mystics are precisely the kind of women and men that need to be leading our churches.
As long as our churches are led by those who view being a Christian primarily as a kind of conferred status instead of a lifelong journey, and view faith as a form of static certitude instead of an ongoing orientation of the soul toward God, I see little hope that we can build the kind of churches that can produce mature believers in significant numbers.But Jesus calls us to do the impossible. So we press on…in faith. Our hearts are not weary. We still say, “come with me.” We still seek to lead people into the fullness of Christ. Because it is Jesus who calls us and it is Jesus who is building his church. There are those who are going to walk the road to Cana and find the place where water is turned to wine.
There is a kind of Christianity that looks like a wedding feast. I want you to find the beautiful faith that lies beyond the cruel confines of fundamentalist fears and political agendas. I want you to find the generous orthodoxy that transcends tribalism. I want you to find the sacred mystery that is far deeper than shallow certitude.
I want to say, “Come with me, come to Cana, come to where Jesus turns water to wine.”
Brian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a non-denominational church in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is also the author of several books, including A Farewell To Mars and Beauty Will Save the World, and the brand new memoir Water To Wine. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.