It’s time for new wine skins

New wine needs new wine skins

Approx. read time: 2:30 min.

I’m thinking about a phrase I heard recently: Mostly we grow by falling apart. 

I don’t like falling apart. Yet the patterns in my life prove the wisdom of this phrase.

So I wonder: Will our pandemic-riddled world grow by falling apart, as it’s doing now, in order to yield a better human society, a more equitable economy, and sustainable public and ecological health? 

I wonder, and I hope.

Closer in, I wonder: Will our beloved nation, under its current stresses, grow by falling apart, in order to bring about what God has in mind—what I call the Land of the Rightside Up—a nation whose work is to defend and prosper the life and opportunities of everyone?

I sense that our nation and our world are being invited to grow by falling apart—like old wine skins that burst because they cannot hold the vitality of the new wine of the reign of God.

Dying—falling apart—always precedes new life.

We of Christian faith long for a birthing of the reign of God in our times. Or, at least, this longing should burn in the heart of each of us.

Yet birthing what’s new is hard work, and messy.

And we long for clarity. Or, at least, this longing should help to clarify our understanding and discernments in times of confusion.

Which news source can we trust? Which political leader, or party, has the answers to questions that are larger than us but which beg to be answered? 

To whom, or what, shall we give our allegiance?

The answers are not complex—unless we make them complex.

We are invited to do, simply, as Jesus asks: Turn off the newsfeed, dial down the radio in our heads. Listen for the whisper of the Spirit. Stand firm. Be a light for these times. Be the presence of peace for others amid the storm.

We are invited to step beyond our opinions and our deeply planted stakes in the world’s arrangements on which we have relied. 

We know the magnitude of the invitation by the intensity of our pushback.

No political party holds the whole vision, but it holds a part of the vision—though we may be loathe to admit it. 

Which means that we will never feel “at home” in one camp or the other.

But from where we stand there is much we can do.

We can advocate, and hold our leaders accountable to a nobler cause. 

We can speak the vision of the Land of the Rightside Up, spelled out in the Gospels—a land that works for everyone—and join forces to build it here and now.

So I offer you these questions for reflection and conversation:

How do I “dial down the noise” in my head in order to achieve interior peace? Am I willing to step away from my habit of doom-scrolling? 

How do I actually long for the birthing of the reign of God in my times? What does this longing look like?

If I could bring about the reign of God for my times, in my town, what might this worthy work look like? What would I be doing? Am I doing it already?

Find encouragements and insight—through books and audio—in my Store. Visit my artist page at Spotify. 


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