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Stories

Wine, Anyone?

Posted by Tom Lund on

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth
on an old garment,
for the patch will pull away from the garment,
making the tear worse.
Neither do people pour new wine
into old wineskins.
If they do, the skins will burst;
the wine will run out
and the wineskins will be ruined.
No, they pour new wine
into new wineskins,
and both are preserved.

– Matthew 9:16-17

When I was growing up, my family drank a lot of orange juice. We had a Fiestaware ice pitcher in the refrigerator, and there was always orange juice concentrate in the freezer. Whoever finished the juice in the pitcher was obligated to mix a new batch.

A few years ago, before the pandemic, I offered to make gravy for a dinner with 20-some guests. After the gravy was made, I asked my wife if we had a big pitcher to serve it in. She said, “We have the white one we got from your mother.” When she took it out of the back of the cupboard where it had resided for years, I said, “That won’t work.”  She asked, “Why not.” Then, for one of the few times in my life, my brain worked before my tongue, and I did not blurt out my first thought, “That’s the orange juice pitcher.” I realized that just because my family had always used the pitcher for orange juice, it could not be used to pour another liquid.

I know that I have retained assumptions and viewpoints that, like my limits on the use of the orange juice pitcher, have stayed with me without being examined. They have become part of my thought processes and color my thinking. Now, when our world is in turmoil and our beliefs are being challenged, would be a good time to put them under a microscope to see if they are valid. Does every person in this country have an equal chance to be successful? Is there equal justice under the law? Is it “their” own fault, or am I also to blame?

I do not think we can expect the world to change, to become filled with peace and harmony, unless we also change. We must be new wine skins, shedding the outmoded beliefs that prevent us from receiving the new wine that is true love of our neighbors.

– Tom Lund

 

Prayer

Lord, make me new so that I may help you build a new world for your people.  Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear and fill me with your spirit of love.