Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2:18-22)
WHAT IS NEW IN YOUR LIFE? WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN LATELY?
The promise of the Spirit is new life in Christ - a dying to the old (in large part, a dying to the ego and the “power over” game), and an embracing of a life lived in faith, where Spirit is guiding us and we learn how to love and how to leap.
All this assumes that we won’t stay the same... we won’t keep doing “the same old things”... that we - as individuals and as churches - will evolve and transform.
Jesus ushers in a new covenant, where the standard is not “Love your neighbor as yourself”, but “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is new wine, and, as Jesus says, “no one puts new wine into old wineskins...”, unless they want to lose both the wine and the skins. (Mark 2:22)
So... as I often do in these meditations, I offer some questions for your reflection:
What leap of faith - whether small or large - have you taken recently?
What “wrong people”... what “sinners and tax collectors” (see Mark 2:16)... have you eaten with lately?
What is new in your life this year, and how is that person or that activity leading to your transformation?
How are you a different person now than you were a year ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Over that span, what have you learned about loving God, loving others, loving yourself, loving the planet, loving as Jesus loves you? What have you learned about forgiveness?
What brings you joy?
What spiritual practice has been bringing you joy lately? Prayer? Worship? Reading the Bible? Serving the less fortunate? Giving away money? Being a steward of God’s creation? Being in a small group with others who are following Jesus and seeking to grow in faithfulness? ________________?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new ever morning...” (Lamentations 3:22-23a)
How will you embrace the new mercies of God today?