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We didn’t have Bible Study this week and I’m going to tell you, I missed it. So we’re going to try something a little new. During the reading today, I’m hoping you’ll think about the following questions.
- What stands out?
- What questions do you have?
- What surprised you?
- What assumptions to you make in this reading?
- What word resonated with you?
- Do you see a place where the story connects to your life?
Sometimes, the parable or the metaphor about the wine and wineskins is used to shame what has gone before–that the way things have always been is wrong and will never choose to change. Or, that they should change, and that might be true. But it’s so interesting to me that by not putting the new wine that still has to ferment and will have gases that expand and NEEDS the new leathers that can expand, by not putting it in the old wine skin, they are protecting both the wine and the old wineskins. Maybe Jesus is saying that what was has a place and so does this new way of living and worshiping together.
One of the things that I actually really enjoy about this community and Sunday mornings, is that we treat this time, each other, our practice of life and worship as sacred but not seriously. We know it is imperfect, the bread will make crumbs on the floor, the tech will fail us or I will fail at the tech, the kids will not participate in my conversations, notes will sometimes be missed–that is not a judgment. It will be imperfect, like our lives. Worship is our practice of imperfect people trying, learning, failing and trying again what it is to live lives in community.
And we are never going to be like the big churches over yonder. Or St Mary’s, or St Bruno’s. If we were to take what they do there and pour it into our Sunday Morning worship, it wouldn’t work. We wouldn’t be as effective and it would mostly just annoy folks here. I’m not saying what any of the other churches is doing is the new, fancy, wine thing. I am saying, we’ll never be them.
And thank God. The anxiety and exhaustion?! But also, we wouldn’t know each other’s names, and kid’s names. We wouldn’t know each other’s struggles and joys. We wouldn’t know who we’re missing. We wouldn’t be able to pivot, be creative, try something new, and bring our whole selves as offerings.
This book, you’re going to hear a lot more about. We’re going to be trying some things. We already are! It’s about engaging and participating in worship in a way that works because we’re small. It’s a wine that could never be poured into the big church. And because it’s all of our participation, all of our gifts, all of our talents, all of our silly ideas, all of our creative expression, not just mine, it becomes worship that is uniquely us and a beautiful worship to God. And it becomes an expression of God in our lives, in our midst, between each other and beyond us all.