Not being able to decide which meaning of BUCKET LIST was intended as this week's blogging theme, I have decided to combine the two possible meanings of the phrase. I have produced a list of buckets (aided by the synonym experts at thesaurus.com), and now I will try to imagine what each 'bucket' would do with the rest of its life. Here is the list of containers I will be trying to empathize with this week: brazier, can, cask, hod, pail, vat, or vessel. So far I have talked about the brazier and the can. You might like this article better if you click on those and read them first.
A cask is a bucket. At least in the general sense that it is used to contain stuff. In my mind a cask is like a small barrel, which is kind of like two buckets joined together at the wider end, and with the liquid contents accessible by spout. In the movies we've seen casks of fresh water stored in the hulls of old wooden ships and they were always getting contaminated by seawater during the big storm. And when land was finally reached, the sailors broke open the casks of rum or beer, which, somehow, were never contaminated by anything! (If I was the ship's carpenter, or the cooper, I would have been doing a lot of yelling; "Why don't you mugs ever use the spout? Now I have to fix another cask that you just had to "break into"! Do you think I have nothing better to do than to go around fixing casks all day?" And then they'd all say they were sorry and I'd get over it until the next time.)
What comes to mind when you think of a cask? How about that famous Edgar Allan Poe story about the wine cellar? The Cask of Amantillado! I had to look it up, but the key word, cask, made that an easy search. It was a cask of wine that the 'hero' of the story used as bait to get his revenge on the inaptly named, Fortunato.
Fortunato would have killed for even a broken cask full of water when he found himself chained to a wall, in the back of a wine cellar niche, and in the dark behind a newly laid wall of stone.
A cask, it seems, is always responsible for providing some essential goods to the table of man. A barrel is always full of either pickles or crackers and we can all live well enough without those on the menu, but in some countries in the past, wine was the only safe thing to drink. Fresh water on a ship at sea, of course, is vital for all.
So if a regular old bucket can be used to haul stones to the wall project, slop to the pigs, potatoes from the garden, and soapy water to the floors upstairs, what important product is your cask held in reserve to protect?
God has given us many lists in the Bible. There are blessings and curses, plagues, commandments, sins, beatitudes, gifts of the Spirit, fruits of the Spirit, faithful saints, tribulations, and ultimate blessings, to name just a few. But there is a short list of the top three things that God probably keeps in casks, for they will abide forever.
My list of important life factors might be boiled down from the specifics to the more general and include things like health, family well-being, civil freedoms, prosperity, bucket-list plans etc., but God seems to have boiled these down even further to the very very basic and most vital of all:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
May we treasure these in our very best cask; the heart of hearts.