New cloth and New Wine

The same sort of story lies in the two versions of Luke and Mark, written years apart,
but with subtle differences, which may reflect the social context or in the prevalent theology.

In both accounts the parable comes within a discussion.
Why Jesus's disciples aren't fasting as they are meant to be?
The reply is preceded by the comment that the guests can't fast whilst the bridegroom is still with them
which is a fairly straightforward concept and clear analogy.

Mark's parable would seem to point to the inadequacy of inherited religious ways to meet the needs of today.
Trying to fill our religious needs with the methods of past generations will only lead to greater need.
We should rethink our ways of doing church in each generation.
Perhaps even rethink the theories that lie behind it all
Re-imagine the "Good News", as Jesus did.

In Luke's Gospel, written many years later, tradition has become of greater value.
Many are saying that the old wine is better. They prefer the old ways of doing things.
It is the colour-match of the old garment that is important, rather than the worsening of the tear.
The main thing is to ensure the maintenance of the existing order; make sure that we stay on track.

Today things have not changed. Many hang on to the old ways, to what they understand, know, value.
The church, desperate not to hurt its (generally older) patrons, remains firmly resistant to change.
Where it is dragged into the present, it remains always a step behind,
when it, or its leadership, should be in the forefront.

The established church is dogged by Lukan thinking,
heavily biassed to the traditional ways, even where it makes concessions in language, music or liturgy.
Where it tries to sit on the fence, it merely manages to annoy all parties.

This is why people are drawn away, to the mysteries of New Age spirituality or the false certainties of Islam.
for Christianity has lost its cutting edge, blunted by centuries of dampening doctrinal debate.
The world-changing Gospel of Jesus has been perverted into untenable myths about him.
What was a focus on how to live has become one on how Jesus died.
The cloth has shrunk beyond repair. A new weave is required.
New wineskins are desperately needed,
for the old are leaking like sieves.