I have been meditating and praying through this passage in Luke 5:37-38
As I pray through this principle, I am beginning to see some parallels as we enter into this time of great transition. God is doing a NEW thing in us--through us and around us. It is hard to keep up with all the emotions associated with all the new. In my quiet times, the Spirit has reminded me that I MUST humbly put on the 'new wineskin' in order to yield to the intense pressure and stretching of the Father's 'new wine'.
One of the new wineskins is the letting go of and launching our daughter as she gets married in a week. For over 20 some years the old wineskin of 'protecting, nurturing, providing for, rescuing, discipling and directing' our daughter is no longer fit to contain the new wine God is making her into. I confess that I am struggling in the letting go--it is painful--like a cutting away--for both sides--but glorious to watch the metamorphosis of her becoming the beautiful young women of God He is making her to be.
Another new skin, is the letting go of our "Western" mindset and culture in order to humbly assimilate into the Taiwanese culture. I recently received this quote from Nancy Leet who wears the hat of Language/Culture Coach for TEAM Taiwan: "Your attitude should be the same as that of the most excellent missionary...this excellent missionary knew he was completely ethnic and fully competent and a leader in his own culture, but did not consider his own ethnic values, his expertise at home, or even his own language something to cling to. On the contrary, he counted his cultural ways as mostly inappropriate in the new context, choosing to add a new cultural side to his personality and working hard to think, act and talk more and more like the people he came to serve. And having successfully acculturated himself among the people, he humbled himself before God and the people, and became a servant no matter what the cost...even unto death, but mostly unto inconvenience." (Greg Holden, "Helping Learners Develop Second Language Proficiency")
Once again I have a confession: I really wrestled to let go of the 'old skin' when we first went to Taiwan. I know that I was leaking 'New Wine' all over the place! I know this time is different--My Heavenly Father has been making me into a "new wineskin" for this 'new wine'...it has been a painful and humbling process...but I am so thankful for it.
There is another dimension to this season, and that is the fact that the TEAM we are rejoining has also been going through this uncomfortable process of putting on a 'new skin' for the 'new wine' God is doing through the new vision He is revealing.
I found this quote in a New Test. commentary: "that the New Wine may not be as smooth to the tongue, and finely aged as old wine. It may be a bit sharp and unrefined. But it is ALIVE! You can't contain it in old structures. You must find new wineskins for it or none at all..."
"Lord, continue to prepare us as you continue to fill us with your New Wine. Help us to contain it and grow with it, rather than lose it through stubbornness and inflexibility. Help me, Lord, to recognize the powerful new ways you want to work in me that I may bring you glory. In Jesus' name. Amen"