Read Luke 5
Why is it that when certain things age they increase in value and we call them “vintage” or “antique”, while other things age and they are just old and in need of being replaced. I have not studied this at length, but I suspect it has to do entirely with how many people find it desirable. I have a relative who owns a restored 1909 Isotta Fraschini racing car. Only one hundred were built, and only four remain in existence today. I have no idea what it might be worth, I suspect it is quite a bit more than the $2,700.00 the original owner paid for it in 1910.
In today’s reading Luke records a parable Jesus told which involves things that are old and things that are new.
He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” (v. 36-39)
It has been my observation that much of the conflict that arises within churches no matter what denomination they might be has to do with change. Each new generation of people has new ways of doing things, and very often these ways don’t fit within the forms of the previous generations. Not all the changes that come are biblically sound, but some of them are, and in most cases are long overdue. There are also some cases where the attempt is made to force the “new forms” into “old the old frameworks” and guess what happens? Just like Jesus predicted, the old “wineskins” burst, and the “new wine” is often lost.
I have also seen some cases where this transition has been managed successfully. The key in those situations has been two fold. The previous generation has been willing to trust that God is able to continue to build His church using the new forms, and the new generation has been patient and respectful of the foundation upon which they are building as they earn the trust of the previous generation to move the church forward.
When the new young leaders that God uses to move His church into the next generation value the old forms as “vintage” rather than casting them aside as “old”, it makes it much easier for those who built the old forms to move them from the raceway to the museum where they still serve a function, but in a different manner than they once did.