In today’s Gospel from St. Luke, Jesus tells his disciples that “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one” and “no one pours new wine into old wineskins.”
Whenever I hear this passage, I think a prayer by Ed Hays, titled A Psalm of New Wine Skins. I have sometimes offered it to retreatants for their prayer and I offer it to you this morning.
Comfortable and well-worn are my daily paths
whose edges have grown gray with constant use.
My daily speech is a collection of old words
worn down at the heels by repeated use.
My language and deeds, addicted to habit,
prefer the taste of old wine, the feel of weathered skin.
Come and awaken me, Spirit of the new.
Come and refresh me, Creator of green life.
Come and inspire me, Risen Son,
you who make all things new:
I am too young to be dead, to be stagnant in spirit.
High are the walls that guard the old,
the tried and secure ways of yesterday
that protect me from the dreaded plague,
the feared heresy of change.
For all change is a danger to the trusted order,
the threadbare traditions that are maintained
by the narrow ruts of rituals.
Yet how can an everlasting new covenant
retain its freshness and vitality
without injections of the new,
the daring and the untried?
My desire is,
Come, O you who are ever-new,
wrap my heart in new skin,
ever flexible to be reformed by your Spirit.
Set my feet to fresh paths this day:
inspire me to speak original and life-giving words and to
creatively give shape to the new.
Come and teach me how to dance with delight
whenever you send a new melody my way.