Year B - Pentecost or Energy to Witness
May 24, 2015
Jesus has a saying about new wine—it needs new wine skins. Those who used the “new wine” excuse to dismiss a new way of living with one another acknowledge the need for a structural reorganization that does more than keep an institution rolling along. There wasn’t a new institution yet, much less an old one.
This “new wine” is a powerful image that can be used to break open an institution that has lost its newness in the accretion of traditions bogging it down. At a meeting earlier this week I heard exciting news that the demonstrated from a business model that the United Methodist Church will be selling its assets by 2050 if there is not a turn-around started by 2030.
This would be even more exciting news if it wasn’t about a turn-around but new wine that moves it into yet uncharted water. A turn-around is exacting what the speaker warned us about and then fell back into. It would be even more exciting news if the speaker didn’t have a Plan to provide a structural fix that they warned us wouldn’t work.
We are such a bunch of contradictions and inconsistencies. All this good news that new wine is the way to go gets bollixed up with our plans and plottings to get our way. It is difficult for us to turn our prophetic word, visions and dreams applied to the current day, into action. But there is no reason to let difficulty sway us from living what we now know to be life-giving and to test it against the suspect wisdom of our day that has gotten us into such a tenuous place.
So here we go, speaking what we know to the best of our ability.