New and Old
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins (Matthew 2:21 & 22).”
I was not aware I needed glasses until I entered college. If I wanted a degree I had to do a lot more reading and pay attention to what the professor put on the board. I had frequent headaches and the words frequently blurred together. After a long-needed eye exam I was prescribed glasses and my world changed forever.
The trees had individual leaves, even at a distance. It was like going from a tube television to Hi-Definition digital picture. The world exploded with color and vibrant details. It was beautiful. I could now read for hours without becoming drowsy or losing my place in blurry text. There was so much to learn and I could now read for hours devouring information without consequence.
It changed my perspective and my vigor for life.
This may seem odd to you, or if you've experienced it you know what I'm talking about. It was something small, but it changed everything. It was significant.
Have you seen a baby receive their first pair of glasses and see their mother for the first time? What about a baby who can hear her mother's voice for the first time?
There is a moment of awe and they are emotionally overwhelmed, it's a beautiful moment. Their perception and reality has been changed forever. It's beautiful.
When you were given a Bible as a kid, you were told it was the word of God. It had a new and an old Testament. There was an Old half and a New half. Maybe to this day you have been uncertain what that means. Jesus is in the New half. He says, "You don't put new wine in old wine skins."
Jesus brought the new Promise from God. The new agreement between God and man. The old agreement carried baggage and moved slowly, it didn't work. It was meant to instruct in how the New Covenant Jesus brought worked.
We could spend days unpacking this, but here's the point for this article. New means everything is new. Historically the church has picked what was new and what to keep of the old. For instance, the temple, as though an earthly building could house God; the temple has been translated into cathedrals and church buildings. Just recently the cathedral Notre Dame burned. The world called to rebuild it, not necessarily for religious purposes, but as evidence of the building's value. It's valuable as a beautiful remnant of the past architecturally. The building's original purpose was a cathedral. The purpose was to house worship.
The New Covenant says that God cannot be contained in a building. Notre Dame is just a building, nothing more. Your church you worship in is a building. We are not instructed to make the building sacred. Wherever the church meets is sacred space.
Jesus' purpose was to make life easier, giving your life to God is easy. Life with God and under His love is good. But since Jesus' ascension, theologians, teachers, preachers, and leaders have complicated the Gospel. They have chosen to keep the old (requirements) and call it new.
Today denominations argue over worship styles, sacred objects, saved and unsaved, politics, and sit as judge and jury over the cultures of the world. Again old practices from an old covenant.
Jesus said my yoke is easy, my burden light. However, people today feel the church is boxed in, wooden and covered in splinters. It's prickly, waiting to suffocate you with emotionally needy and unhealthy co-dependent structures.
Its brand of love comes with theological strings attached.
That's Old coming in with the new. Jesus said the wine skin would bust if this was attempted. I would say it has.
New is a completely new perspective of life. It isn't working in the same dark confines of death and violence. It's freeing love, nurturing hope, and doing justice. It's righting the wrongs of a broken system, not furthering those same old broken practices.
When you read the teachings of Jesus do you see the new perspective?
Do you try to make the old work with a new name?
Have you seen what a repentant perspective looks like?
May you walk humbly with your God
May you love justice
May you pursue mercy and peace
May you pour new wine into your new wine skins and fill your heart with gladness
In His service and yours,