Friday, March 14, 2014

Fresh Wineskins

Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples - for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard this, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."

Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus said to them, "The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

"No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins." Mark 2:13-22

One of great delights of traveling to new places is getting an new perspective in the world. Here from Barrow, nearly the top of the world, things look very different. We're a thousand miles from Fairbanks and only 1500 miles from Greenland -over the pole, that is. I have been struck these past hours by how different this part of Alaska is, and how I am being called to have a new way of seeing, listening and being. We are being called to a new heart and new ways.

Jesus calls the tax collector and the religious leadership went crazy. That just wasn't done. The tax collector was an outcast, shunned and hated. But Jesus knew that to really hear the good news we need a radically new perspective. Some times we have to be shocked out of our complacency and familiarity. We need to go to a new place. We need a new way of seeing and listening. We need a new heart.

Today I ask God to give me a fresh and new perspective, and a new heart. May we be open to the good news of God's love in our lives. May we find ourselves shocked by love and may we be overcome with joy today.

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