New wine in new wineskins
Matthew 9: 14-17 (GNT)
14 Then the followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don't fast at all?”
15 Jesus answered, “Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to be sad as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16 “No one patches up an old coat with a piece of new cloth, for the new patch will shrink and make an even bigger hole in the coat. 17 Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, for the skins will burst, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins, and both will keep in good condition.”
If we are to process the new vintage, make a fresh start, we must make new provision, new space. It won’t be the same as before – the conditions of growth have been different: the weather, the state of the soil, the attention paid to detail, even the people doing the work.
There is much talk of renewing the Church, in all its many forms. Can we really make a fresh start? We still need the basic recipe, but we perhaps don’t need all the tweaks it has acquired through the years.
We are travelling through this Holy Week in a whole new way, unable to worship in Church, kept apart from our kin and our Church family. We still have the old, old story to read and hear – from a book in an old or new version, from a Kindle or other device, in recorded readings – there are so many ways to let it speak to us afresh.
we give thanks
for all who have passed the stories down to us,
first by word of mouth,
then in writing,
and through art and music.
We give thanks
for the new means of communication,
TV and radio,
that are keeping us connected
to the heritage of the past
and to each other now.
We give thanks for the innovative ideas
of those who are changing the way we relate to each other,
within and outwith the Church,
reaching out to folk who need to be told the old, old story.