My final reflection on Luke 5 (verses 33-39) –
They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ “
The temptation for me is to hold onto the past and to try and go back in time. You know, around May 15, 2009 I would have told you that I had the greatest life in the world and wouldn’t trade it with anyone. I loved my job, was fulfilled in my calling, had a great faith community and great friends, was doing significant work, people were meeting Jesus, the church was growing, disciples were being formed — by any standard or metric, I had a great life.
And then within two weeks it all blew up.
I lost my job… my ministry… my church… my home… my friends… my faith community… my calling… my purpose.
Again, the temptation is to try and get back what I lost. But that can’t be done. It is a fool’s errand. Life moves in only one direction — I think that is part of what Jesus is teaching in this passage. Live in the moment, and embrace the new. You can’t think to much about tomorrow or about going back to yesterday.
As I heal and grow in Christ, Jesus is pouring new wine into my life. That said, there is still a lot of pain and regret and mourning. I think that is appropriate. I miss my old life… and even more, I miss the relationships, the friendships. These were people I deeply cared for (and care for) and invested in (and want to invest in).
But God is working in me, transforming me, growing me, refining me… NEW WINE. And you don’t put NEW WINE in OLD WINE SKINS… because when the wine ferments, it will bust the old skins and you will lose it all.
So my prayer continues to be for reconciliation… but with the added benefit of new wine and new wine skins because Jesus is in the reNEWal business.