On Saturday afternoon I found the boy scouts were using our parking lot for ice hockey, and church on Sunday was going to be difficult. What is good for hockey is bad for hips.
So here is a quick thought from today’s message, I hope it helps spur your worship from home.
Occasionally my aunt, when growing up, would be left in charge. On a warm summer day, with everyone outside, she went inside and locked the screen door. She got out the ice cream. Scooped a huge bowl. And went back to the door … everyone outside just stared as she enjoyed.
Check out Luke 5:33-35.
The Pharisees had perfected the requirements and rituals of Judaism. Anyone who wanted to worship, must do as they did… so Jesus’ arrival was disconcerting. Eventually infuriating. He was breaking the laws of the sabbath and leading his disciples to do so. He came eating and drinking rather than fasting and restricting. So they asked him WHY?
“Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?”
For Jesus, worship was not a ritual or regulation, but a relationship. Even a friendship. The Pharisees could not understand this concept. Which is why Jesus speaks the next words: Luke 5:36-38. (Take a moment to read them.)
This is an odd parable if you focus on wineskins or patches. Instead focus on the common words between the illustrations; “old” and “new”. The Pharisees followed the old covenant, which we find in the Old Testament. Built around the requirements of Moses’ law and rituals of the temple. The Pharisees mastered the way of ritual and regulation. Therefore they controlled the entry to God…
But here was this miracle worker claiming something new. A way not of regulations or rituals, but of relationship. A way that would not be barred by requirements. But was open so that all might have relationship with God. Even as a friend!
This was ridiculous… religion was hard work… you must look and act a certain way… and so Jesus adds, “No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better” (v39). Because the Pharisees could not except that religions of regulation and ritual were over. Replaced by relationship.
My earliest story with my Aunt is again with her as the baby sitter. Only this time she is sharing the ice cream. When I asked for more, she freely gave. Of course I asked for more too many times and it ended terribly for my stomach. But the moment is a great image of Jesus. Who offers grace and love in abundance for all who ask.
It is new wine, and for once we know the new wine is better than the old.