“I experience God’s presence when I open my eyes, mind, and heart and soul to the extraordinary that lurks behind the ordinary”. (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk)
In our first reading in Ephesians we read these words: “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit speaking to yourselves with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your heart to the Lord giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Ephesians 5:15-20)
In the context here, the writer of Ephesians is saying, don’t get intoxicated with wine (or we could say intoxicated with things that are substitutes for the real thing, but be filled with the Spirit, drink the New Wine). He’s talking about the new wine of the Spirit. In the first miracle that Jesus did in Cana of Galilee when he made new wine at the wedding feast, the MC came to him and said, “Usually at weddings the new wine is used first and then the old wine is brought out last, but you have brought out the new wine last. In the kingdom of God, Jesus intends to replace the old wine with new wine. (John 2:9-11) How can we settle for something other than the new wine of the Spirit, always looking for the new to replace the old?
In another story about wine Jesus says: “You do not put new wine in old wineskins lest the wineskins crack and bust, but you put new wine into new wineskins”. (Mark 2:22) Just as you try to put new wine into old wineskins, and the old wineskins crack and break, so we must prepare ourselves daily as vessels to receive the new wine of the Spirit. Old wine, like old ways are intended to be replaced with new wine and fresh ideas.
We have been talking the past few weeks about what Jesus refers to as the greatest commandment, to love God and to love others. And, we have talked about the importance of balancing the vertical with the horizontal, loving God and loving our neighbor. In other words, with one arm reaching out to God and with the other helping those around you who are in need. Renewal of our spiritual lives must result in a commitment to the needs of those around us. If not, we will be off balance, like a car driving sideways down the road. And, when we allow ourselves to be vessels of this new wine, may our prayer be that others may ask how they can also get some of this new wine. And, we can be bearers of the “good news”, as confirmed in that wonderful invitation from the book of Isaiah: “Ho everyone that is thirsty, come you to the waters, and he that has no money, come you buy and eat. Hearken diligently to me and eat that which is good. And, let your soul delight itself in abundance”. (Isaiah 55:1-2)
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24). And, we are allowing the Spirit to transform our lives from the inside out. We allow God to come and fill our lives so that the ordinary things in our lives take on an extraordinary meaning. New Wine can be referred to as allowing God to be the center of your life, allowing the ordinary to become extraordinary and the extraordinary to become ordinary, merging the natural world with daily routines and schedules with the spiritual world, kind of like a spiritual; grid
We can compare this spiritual grid with a marine layer of sorts that kind of hovers, like a covering that overshadow the activities of the day, normal routines of our day, our comings and goings, waking’s and sleeping’s.
There is an anticipation and greater things to come awesomeness of the things to come, God doing wonderful things in our lives. It becomes a rule of life, a way of living. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. (Psalm 118:24)
In the old wineskin, the old way of doing things, the old world-view, nothing ever changes, but in the new world-view, in the new wineskin there are changes. The grid covers us from the top to the bottom of our world. Things change. The new wine of the Spirit replaces questions and doubts with an awesome wonder. Peace, replaces anxiety with anticipation.
The ordinary becomes the extraordinary. In the old way, the old wineskin there is a lack of vision. With the new wineskin there is anticipation and viability. The normal becomes extraordinary, and the extraordinary normal. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—you’re sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him”. (Romans 12:1, Message)
Sometimes it’s easy to view church and our spiritual walk as separate from our natural walk, and they are both part of us, a dichotomy in our lives, but when the Grid of the Holy Spirit is transfused into our lives the two areas the natural and the spiritual become one, and that space that we call Gods space, becomes our space, becomes one in the Spirit with us. The thin line between us and God becomes less identifiable when we allow the Holy Spirit to blur the lines between the natural and the supernatural
Where is God to be found? We first allow God to find us as we make ourselves available by allowing ourselves as new wineskins or new vessels to be filled with the Spirit speaking to ourselves, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19)