Saturday, July 04, 2009

application block/bung: updated

Text for Sunday: Jesus said, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!” He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.” Mark 2:19-22

So I’ve got the introduction and backstory: conflict in Mark 2, the wedding image – in the Old Testament, in Jewish culture, in Revelation. God as party God, Christian discipleship as “friends of bridegroom”: a fabulous picture.

But I’m blocked/bunged up with verse 21-22 – the wineskins part. If I was all emergent/esque it would be easy – I’d just trash talk the old. You know the drill: old, wrinkly, leather past it’s due by date. New wine is coming, all youthful and goateed and hip and fine silk.

But is that really what Jesus would be wanting to say at Opawa on Sunday morning: a 98 year old church, visitors for a baby dedication of a child from a historic and faithful family, to a congregation that has given space for new wineskins of Grow and Side Door and espresso and the gathering to develop. What is the application?

I need to dash to talk to 90 Salvation Army community and church youth workers, so thoughts please while I’m gone ….

Updated: Thanks to those who commented and emailed. You were each helpful and encouraging. Here’s how I finished: Since this is a wedding text, Iā€™d like to propose some wedding toasts. Since you have should have communion glasses, you might like to join me.

A first toast, to the old
to the Old Testament
to our history as a church
to those who parented us, discipled us, mentored us, discipled us
ALL: to the old

A second toast, to the present
that God will forgive us of our party protesting, judgemental, Revised Baptist attitudes,
God will help us behave as friends of the bridegroom
to appreciate the old, welcome the new
ALL: to the present

A third toast, to the future
to the new wineskins
to the parents of those who have had children recently dedicated, and to all parents, to all who long to bring up kids in the strange world of the 21st century,
to the future of new wine at Opawa, that it would always find new wineskins
ALL: to the future

A final toast, to the bridegroom
Jesus Christ, who invites us all to his party
ALL: to the bridegroom

Some of the lines might only make sense in terms of the full sermon on Mark 2:19-22 here. What was fascinating was how many glasses shot up and heads nodded at this line “and to all parents, to all who long to bring up kids in the strange world of the 21st century”: parenting ain’t easy folks!

Posted by steve at 01:18 PM


  1. Yes this wineskins one is often missapplied to church. In all the synoptics this appears in the context of a discussion on fasting, if your exegesis doesn’t make the link to fasting somehow it is off the mark. unfortunatley that paraphrase rather masks that. The clue: Jesus is answering a question about (religious) fasting, he gives an answer that is about himself.

    Comment by jonathan robinson — July 4, 2009 @ 7:02 pm

  2. To me it seems, that John’s followers have not yet caught onto the fact that Jesus is the Messiah. They are still acting as if the Messiah was not there…But the situation is a new one: The Messiah has arrived and at this stage there is no need for fasting…When He will be gone, there will be a need for fasting again…In other words maybe something like: Be up with the play, with the moving of the Spirit…The wineskins don’t seem that important to me. They are just an example of don’t mix the old with the new, but adjust things according to the situation at hand…..The problem however might be in the fact, that there is a fixed text for a fixed Sunday, if that is the case.

    Comment by Ingrid — July 4, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  3. Is it about dissing the past??? Or celebrating the Messiah in our midst… Currently using the computer in the corner of the bedroom – and I can see my fantastic orange silk scarf – purchased from an Indian Emporium on K’Rd – it is both warm and light – and great to wear to a summer BBQ when the air will get chilly while the party warms up. The colour is one of celebration. I can also see my hubby’s flannette painting shirt – discarded after doing some home maintenance this afternoon – definately not party clothes. There is no way that my celebration scarf would be patching the painting shirt. Jesus said “don’t skimp – feast”, as Steve said we are “friends of the bridegroom”, your painting shirt has served you well but put on the celebration garments. Anyway, a thought off the top of my head… Hope that the Sally’s event went well.

    Comment by KSW — July 4, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  4. thanks folks. for what it’s worth, i went for some toasts. seemed to fit with the wedding theme and communion. exegetically i decided that since Christ is risen, and the use of wedding imagery in Revelation, that the wedding/feasting should continue to be our Christian experience, so i wanted to keep that thread at work. the use of toasts also enabled me to deal with a text that I felt had multiple threads at work. i’ve put what i’ve done up on the blog.

    thanks again for your comments and input, much appreciated on what was a pretty exhausting weekend.


    Comment by steve — July 5, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  5. I got it all wrong. I thought you had a given text and had to use it for a Child dedication.

    Comment by Ingrid — July 5, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  6. cool…

    Comment by KSW — July 5, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  7. Sorry if there was any confusion Irene. I am working my way through the book of Mark at the moment. I try to vary the preaching diet – sometimes I do themes, sometimes one-off’s, but at the moment I’m simply working my way section by section, through Marks’ gospel. Such an approach does make sure I keep away from my hobby horses :). So the Bible text was Mark 2:19-22, and next week it will be Mark 2, picking up from verse 23.


    Comment by steve — July 5, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

  8. dig the toasts šŸ™‚

    Comment by jonathan robinson — July 16, 2009 @ 4:50 am

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