New Wine in new wineskins

He (Jesus) told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’ Luke 5: 36 – 39 (NIV)

This image is compliments of Wikipedia.

Man with Wineskin by Niko Pirosmani.

The process of amalgamation for the congregations of Newtonbrook United Church and Northminster United Church is something akin to creating a new wine. The new congregation will not be “Newtonbrook”, nor will it be “Northminster.” It will be a new congregation with its own “personality”; mission in ministry, and quirkiness. Like any new wine, it will have a different taste than wines with which we are familiar.
How can we best create new wine that will quench the spiritual thirst of our neighbours? As the people of these two congregations work together to create a “new” Christian congregation in Willowdale, there is much wisdom to be gained from this parable of Jesus. After all, parables were shared as teaching tools.
The biggest challenge that I find in this parable is in verse 39: “And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
This is a challenge for all of us who seek transformation in our lives: we cannot live transformed lives and still have everything from the present.
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