You’ve walked with the Lord for a while now. You’ve learned and practiced the disciplines that foster growth in Christ and your faith has matured. But now your spiritual life feels dry. Maybe your soul has become calloused to the Spirit, nothing seems to penetrate and touch your heart. You know about prayer and scripture reading, but it’s all so familiar, so routine. You almost have a “been there, done that” attitude when it comes to the spiritual practices that once gave you energy. You’ve become accustomed to living a muted, humdrum spiritual life. It’s a little boring, but it is what it is…
Yet, within you, a voice that will not be silenced whispers, “there must be more.” It questions the status quo, it suggests the hope of a return to a dynamic, enjoyable spiritual life.
But how, you wonder? Can what is old and familiar be made new and interesting? Can new life enter dead habits?
Yes and no. Or maybe I should say no and yes.
No…The preacher in the book of Ecclesiates is right when he says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Most likely, there are no new methods or techniques that will revitalize your life with God. As Jesus taught, “you don’t mend an old garment with an unshrunk piece of cloth.”
and Yes…Jesus again, “Don’t pour new wine into an old wineskin.” You are the new wine, created to ferment and expand, you need a new wineskin. Old wineskins are the answers that satisfied us as new believers, knowledge gained and disciplines practiced that defined and informed our spiritual understanding. They held us as we grew, but now they constrict our continued growth. We still need a wineskin to contain our process, that doesn’t change. What changes is our relationship to the wineskin.
We are bored and stunted in our spiritual life, because we have the answers. We know how to pray, we know the importance of a quiet time and corporate worship. There is no mystery left to discover. Old wineskins are made of answers; new wineskins consist of questions.
The NEW Old is not intended to be an information-filled, answer-packed series of posts. It is an exploration of some important questions, questions of great significance.
Here’s what we will do, we will take our important questions and address them, not to ourselves or to each other, but to God. And in this process we will allow God to address us with a few questions of God’s own.
…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903 in Letters to a Young Poet
Please come along, let’s ferment together!
With you on the journey,