He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he 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. 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 5:36-38
My first reaction to Jesus’ words here is to say, “But what’s wrong with the old wineskins? I don’t want new wineskins. We’ve always used the old wineskins!”
That tends to be our reaction to change in our lives. And yet, you know the old saying – “Change is inevitable – except from vending machines.” Change is a fundamental part of living life on this earth and with each other.
This year is shaping up to be a year of change for CCC. On July 1st, we will be implementing a new constitution, which presents a fairly drastic shift from how we’ve governed in the past. In addition, by now you are probably aware that our associate minister, Tim Akers, has submitted his resignation and will be leaving us on July 27th.
That’s a lot to undertake in one year, let alone one month! And yet I am confident that God will guide us through this change and lead us to a place even better than we can imagine. However, for us to get there safely and intact, I believe there are some things we can do to ensure a smooth journey.
Communicate – Nothing slows down a process faster than lack of communication. I promise to keep you as informed as possible and the direction in which the church is heading. Let’s keep talking about our concerns, our joys and our questions as we move forward. If you are unsure of anything, you can always come to me or one of the leaders of the church. That’s what we are here for.
Be open to “new wineskins” – We are all about to enter into a time when things are different than they have been in the past, and it’s natural for us to feel somewhat anxious about that. While everything may not be exactly how we would like, we can trust that God is “doing a new thing” in our midst, if we stay open to receiving it.
Practice a spirit of forgiveness – I have yet to meet the perfect person. That means that each one of us is going to err from time to time, and often those mistakes are highlighted during times of transition. There is a lot of unknown in front of us, and our greatest learning may come from our false starts, missteps, and slip-ups. A spirit of forgiveness will foster an atmosphere of grace here at CCC, and allow everyone to move forward with confidence, even in the midst of our trials and errors.
Pray! – We simply cannot do this alone. We need God’s guiding, empowering Spirit to lead us. Pray that God continues to show this church family God’s will for us, and that we have the wisdom and strength to follow it.
William Shakespeare wrote, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” What excites me most about the future of CCC is that God is in the unknown, working to bring about God’s will in the midst of our transition. We know not what we may be, but God knows, and with faith and a spirit of service, we will find out. My prayer is that we all become new wineskins, so that we are ready to receive the outpouring of God’s spirit that awaits us. Bring on the new wine!