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.Luke 5: 36-38
Maybe you are like me, wishing that spiritual growth was a straight upward trajectory. That old fantasy dies hard! It’s true that “every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” However, the part that gets left out is this – getting better and better means facing the ideas, attitudes, and behaviors in us that hem us in. Growing means we’re going to have times of getting uncomfortable. We’re going to have to come to grips with attitudes that helped us survive difficulties, yet no longer fit how we want to live today. We may feel emotions that earlier in our lives we had to stuff down. Now they’re coming up to be claimed and healed. We get to love ourselves for how we were, value ourselves for who we are, and rejoice that our future holds good. The best is yet to be! Being uncomfortable does NOT mean we’re on the wrong track. It means that we’re creating a new garment and moving into a new flow of life.
When we try to squeeze our Christ nature—our innate Divinity—into restrictive unexamined attitudes, the new garment we long for tears and the new wine spills. We stay stuck. In his to-the-point way, Jesus’ parable makes it clear that it just doesn’t work to try to pinch new aliveness into a worn-out posture. Yet, when we hang in there with ourselves through the uneasiness, something new will emerge. From our deepest soul we will have created a fresh, flexible understanding that carries us forward with love and grace. We will bless the past for how it brought us to today. And we will move with enthusiasm into what is ahead.
This is true for us as individuals and it is true for us as a society. Looking with a deeper understanding reveals that the current polarization of attitudes is the result of Spirit pushing all of us from the inside out. “Grow!” Spirit urges, “Create a new future for the world, one alive with joy and hope. Recognize and heal how it was, and in that space make a new whole garment brilliant with love and abundance.”
In the Love and Light of the Christ,