I don’t do champagne. I don’t really have a moral or spiritual objection to it. I have more of a caloric objection to it. If I’m going to drink calories, I’d rather them be Pepsi calories.
In fact, I’ve never even been around champagne that much. I’ve seen it a few times at weddings, but that’s about it. I’ve never seen a champagne tower, either. I’ve never seen one in real life, anyway. But I have seen pictures of them, and I find them endlessly interesting.
As a kid learning about life through the television (or maybe that should be mislearning about life through the television), I was interested in champagne towers because they were intrinsic and luxurious. They were life a high-life puzzle toy, and that was incredibly appealing to me at the time. As an adult follower of Jesus Christ, I am interested in them for an altogether different reason. I am interested in them because they are a fairly good analogy for the following of Jesus Christ. They are are fairly good metaphor or illustration of what the following of Jesus Christ is and how it works.
A champagne tower has at least two elements which make it such a good analogy of the following of Jesus Christ. First, a champagne tower is, to paraphrase Paul, “a unit made up of many parts” (1 Corinthians 12:12, NIV 1984). The tower is not only a grouping of individuals but an actual interlocking of those individuals. The individuals (in this case, individual glasses) are not just together but interwoven, interconnected, in actual, legitimate relationship with one another. Second, a champagne tower operates in a top-down manner. The contents, the valuable thing the glasses contain (in this case, champagne), is passed from the first glass down to the glasses below it. The first glass overflows what it has into the the glasses underneath it, and those glasses in turn overflow what they have received from the first glass into the glasses underneath them.
And this is indeed what following Jesus is like and how following Jesus operates. Jesus had something good. He had the Kingdom of God. He had the ways, the means, the values, the heart, the mind, the essence and substance of the Kingdom of God. He overflowed that to others. He particularly overflowed that to twelve others but also overflowed it to a few additional people. He also, I believe, continues to overflow it to us today. So Jesus overflows into us; He fills us with the Kingdom He has. Others overflow into us as well. As we interact with other believers, they likewise pour into us; we take or receive Kingdom from them. And then we overflow or pour that Kingdom into others ourselves. And so the Kingdom flows from the top down through all the interlocking individuals.
Maybe a champagne tower will be a part of your New Year celebration. Maybe it won’t (I can guarantee it won’t be a part of mine; my congregation holds a “Clean and Sober” New Year’s Eve party which is led by our recovery individuals, and they don’t allow any alcohol; we will instead have Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice). Whether you do or don’t, I hope you will see that this is how following Jesus works, how the Kingdom spreads in you as well as from you. And I hope you will participate in that in the new year. I hope you will allow yourself to be poured into not only by Jesus but by other believers, and I hope that you will likewise pour out into other believers yourself.