Allow me to whine a bit, if you will. You can’t keep doing new things in old ways. Why does everyone try to force the “new” thing Christ is doing into the antiquated, worn-out, tired and contrived methods of ye olde dead white guys?
Don’t get me wrong. I love me some dead white guys: Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-fallutin’ Greeks. I’m not like the Jonathan Edwardses or Reinhold Niebuhrs or Henry Ward Beechers. I’m a new creature, living in a new time. Even though I’m the same type of substance as those who have gone before, I’m new wine.
And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, 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. Luke 5:37-38
Forcing the new into the mold of the old ruins new and old alike. I don’t teach in the old style. Those constraints would diminish my impact. I don’t write in the old style. My words create my voice, and I am in the here and now and not the there and then. I’m new wine.
New wine expands. It increases. It pushes the limits of the wineskin and reshapes its container. I’m new wine.
And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.” – Luke 5:39
Wine gets better with age. Even though you can’t pour new wine into old wine skins, it might be possible to pour old wine into new wineskins. I may not want to follow every tradition or ritual of my faith, but that faith has a rich and storied history.
I can learn from that. The same Spirit that fell on the day of Pentecost, the same Spirit that lit a fire in Peter and Paul, that same Spirit is the good wine in me. That Spirit is the old wine. That same Spirit is enabling and encouraging and engulfing the new thing. The Spirit is the new wine.
If you were a bottle of wine, which vintage would you be? What would your label look like?