As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Luke 5:33-39 (NRSV)
Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ’The old is good.’”
Have you ever tried to talk to someone who speaks a different language? The two of you speak and work to try to make the other understand, but without the help of a translator you simply cannot understand each other. You try repeating the words, speaking more slowly and more loudly in an effort for the other to better hear you. However, it’s not a question of hearing but of understanding.
I sometimes think that’s how the Pharisees heard Jesus, except they were speaking the same language. It wasn’t a question of hearing, but a question of understanding. The Pharisees asked why Jesus’ disciples weren’t fasting, and Jesus started talking about new wine in old wineskins, new garments and old garments. He threw in the example of the bridegroom for good measure. I wonder if they thought he was talking in riddles.
Riddles make us think, but sometimes we just need people to spell out what they are saying to us. When we try to communicate with each other, we come with our own understandings, cultural realities, and definitions. Sometimes it takes reading and re-reading a text or letter or scripture or lesson to get a clear understanding. We often call it studying. It’s worth the effort to get the message!
Dear Loving God, we seek to understand you better. When we bring our own understandings and questions to the scripture, shine your light on the text so that we may receive your message for us. Amen.
Go with God.