It’s Queens birthday and the passage is short. There are two ideas to talk about. The first has to do with marshmallows.
This was about delayed gratification. It was the practise of many in Jesus’ time to fast and pray. Fasting is about giving something up for a period of time so that you can have something else. It’s got some similarities to saving for something. It’s a behaviour that expresses our values and even though the passage we’re reading isn’t an endorsement of the practise. I did find myself musing on when we lay something aside, or wait for something and what that says about our values.
How serious are we about our faith ? Do we really want to seek God or is God a kind of optional add-on ? What are we willing to lay aside and ‘wait for’. In a culture that is all about having more, what are we willing to give up ?
There – that’s s topic for discussion. So go for it …
However in the passage, Jesus suggests that it isn’t the time for fasting because he is here. It’s the fulfilment, the party, not the lead-in.
And then he tells this story
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins
This for me is a bit scary. – but to get you thinking read the following story, and talk about what change looks like, and how we might be agents of change. (Note- the story has been re-written, but the original comes from Culture making by Andy Crouch)
Once upon a time there was a man who loved chill. Every Thursday night he would sauté onions and green peppers until they caramelised. He would add coriander and chill powder mixing up a fragrant spicy paste, and when the whole glorious mess was just short of smoking it would pour chopped tomatoes into the pot.
Only trouble is: his children didn’t like chill. They particularly protested the green peppers that loomed ominously in the bowl, and they didn’t really like tomatoes even though they would eat them when they were served in spaghetti sauce.
So one day the man came to his kitchen to find large signs protesting the chili. He laughed and made the chili again – after all it was only one day a week.
The next week the children tried a picket line ! Don’t be silly we won’t eat chilli they chanted ! Too much spice isn’t nice. The man laughed again, but he and his wife loved, deeply loved their chili. so he made it again.
The next week the children channeled the food critics from master chef and gave a devastating critique of the chilly, giving erudite explanations of why the green pepper was too sour, and the relative merits of tomatoes when pureed.
But no success.
Then one day, one of the kids had a brain wave.
When the man came home from work the next thursday, he found the kids had made dinner, it was simmering on the stove, some kind of hotpot with no tomatoes and no green peppers.
He was delighted. And the family sat down together for their first non-chilli meal.
and they all played Uno happily that night.
And the moral of the story is : Don’t like it ? Do it better !
What would you do if you were the kids who didn’t like chilli ?
For further discussion : Read the story from Luke, it has an additional and very worrying comment as the last verse
(Luke 5:39). What does that say about us ? How can we keep from getting stuck in our ways ?