Dear sisters and brothers,
Just like our Sunday lectionary, the readings for daily morning and evening prayer have us steadily working through Luke’s Gospel. A couple weeks ago the reading was a parable from Luke 5 that ends with Jesus saying:
“No one who drinks a well-aged wine wants new wine, but says, ‘The well-aged wine is better.’” (Luke 5:39).
In the parable preceding these verses, Jesus is telling people that his presence is a new situation that demands a new response: the bridegroom is here; the heavenly banquet has begun ahead of time, and thus eating and drinking are more appropriate for his disciples than fasting and praying. You don’t fast on the day of the wedding!
But it’s hard to make this kind of shift, because old habits die hard, and they seem “right” to us. It’s difficult for those accustomed to well-aged wine to appreciate the new. Whatever you’re accustomed to is what seems best, because it’s familiar, and familiarity is comforting. New wine is an acquired taste.
This whole year has felt like a season of shifting and transition for our church. Moving to a new building, moving to a new church affiliation. It’s making me wonder if there is an invitation for me, and for us as a church, to open ourselves up to some “new wine” that might take some getting used to? That perhaps even feels initially inappropriate?
I find myself asking, “What old habits do I have that seem good just because they’re familiar? Am I paying attention to what God is doing here and now, so that I can respond appropriately? If the Spirit is serving up new wine that I don’t yet have a taste for, am I open to receiving it as a gift and acquiring a taste for it? What old habits do I need to leave behind to do so? What new habits do I need to take up?”
Let’s stay open to God’s presence and movement in our midst in this season. Let’s stay attentive and humble, open to discerning and acquiring a taste for the new wine the Spirit is serving up.