And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine bursts the skins, the wine is spilt and the skins are ruined. No, new wine must go into new wineskins. Mark 2:22
A lot of my old wineskins have been bursting.
I think that we try to comfort ourselves that that was then and this is now, and that those silly Pharisees were the only ones trying to pour Jesus into their stiff dried-out religion. But deep inside we know that isn’t true. It is the nature of mankind to busy himself building idols and glorious temples with complicated formulas of who and what is in and who and what is out and I look pretty good. And we can always notice the other even today, but I think it is only in the still predawn that I hear the Spirit whisper about the staves in my own eyes.
And Friday night our community outreach small group watched Brother Sun and Sister Moon. It is a long drifty seventies movie that lasted way too late and lingered way too long on the meadows of poppies and flitting butterflies for a Friday night after a long weary week. But Alan introduced it as what burst his sixteen-year-old fourth-generation missionary family wineskins. And there were those Holy Spirit moments for each of us…whether it was when Francesco returned home and knelt in the empty hallway or as one-by-one his friends stepped out of their binding robes to follow the simple words of Jesus. And the soaring cathedral filled with brightly-robed and silly-hatted folk with sharp elbows that look an awful lot like me worrying about what to eat and what to wear and where I should be sitting and not a lot about Him who cares for the sparrow. And for me, mostly it was the camera shots lingering tenderly on the faces of the least of these.
And Saturday morning a few of us gathered in the Hamilton house to listen. And we listened three times to Kristen read the story of the Prodigal Son, which comes right after the burst wineskins verse, when the Pharisees asked what in blazes Jesus was doing hanging out with sinners. And I noticed a few things…like when the son was yet a long way off, the Father raced down to embrace him. And the part where the Father told to other son, “All I have is yours,” it sounded an awful lot like Cameron singing. And we all walked around the block and tried to notice and tried to listen.
So out on the steps resting in the mid-morning sunshine there was a guy asking for Greyhound bus fare so he could get back to the reservation. And he had a neatly bandaged raw open wound that looked exactly like the recluse spider bite part of his story. And I knelt down and prayed for healing and he held my fingers and I looked him in the eyes and said that Jesus loves him and here is two dollars but then what?
What does a dropped robes life look like?
One of my friends (When do they stop calling me Mrs. Voelkel because I was their seventh-grade English teacher?) wrote about her dropped robes.
And this morning has disappeared. And I have no answers. Or pithy finishes. But it’s time to go pick up my high school student and we will go over to Time Market and I will buy her a scone and ask about Mock Trial and AP tests and her quiet time and how can I pray for her this week. And drats, I didn’t make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to take to the church barbecue. And I wanted to make a double batch, one for the computer geeks at Simutek who fixed my beeping little Macbook for free.
And what does a dropped robes life look like?