Friends, today is the 500th bLOG published since April 2019. On behalf of Godzilla, The Flying Scotsman, and many others, “Thank you for joining me on this adventure!” The Hitchhiker
No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:21-22
Following questions about fasting, both metaphors say pretty much the same thing.
First, we turn to the old garment. It was once new in its context and useful to provide what was needed. Over time, it has worn and threadbare. It loses its flexibility and strength to function the way it did when it was new. If you try to repair it with a new patch, it will render the garment useless because it will be damaged beyond repair.
Now we turn to the wineskin. Once new, it was strong and pliable and could hold a good deal of “new wine.” But over time, as the seasons moved on, it lost its ability to hold the volumes it once had.
Let me put it in a metaphor from my own life. When I was 16, I could hit a fastball and a curve, accurately long-snap a football and pull and block an outside linebacker. When I was 36, I took batting practice on the “Field of Dreams” and could occasionally make contact with the ball, play the occasional tag football game, and teach a local kid how to long-snap. At 56, I barely ever watch baseball, it’s 50/50 if I make it through an entire football game on TV without falling asleep (except when it’s the Patriots), and there is no way I could long-snap a football between my legs without tearing something! The two sports I loved to play are quite different and much faster than they were 40 years ago, and there is no way I could remotely compete on the gridiron or diamond today. By the way, do they even call them that anymore?
Jesus is still bringing the new and best wine in this present and very different world, and it calls for new hearts to cover and carry it. We need new hearts and methods to make the Christian faith relevant in our present. But we also have to accept that someday, even the coverage and capacity practiced now will not be as effective in that future context.
I may not be able to play like I used to, but now I can teach, coach, and cheer even if the game continues to evolve. Please help me help others to carry new wine and protect the integrity of the faith.
Thank you, Lord, for keeping my mind sharp and heart passionate even when my body becomes less flexible and prone to rears.
It is in the name of the Bringer of the Best Wine that I pray. Amen!