The Wisdom of Jesus Series: Letting Go of the Old
“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved” (Matthew 9:16-17).
In these two parables, Jesus furnishes us with a graphic illustration of a very important, freeing dynamic: the action of letting go. It is one thing to retain information for present and future use. It would be cumbersome if we had to relearn to drive our car every time we sat down in it. However, if we dredged up the memory of a past auto accident every time we sat in our car, our paranoia may hinder our present driving performance.
If you carry old wounds into a new day, you will prevent yourself from seeing and experiencing the potential for new avenues of creative opportunity. Jesus said to let the dead bury the dead and let the challenges of this day be the ones we give our full attention. How much of our creative energy is drained away replaying old hurts and dredging up old things we should or should not have done?
The full action of God is present in each new moment. Created in the image and after the likeness of God, each one of us is intended to bring the full force of our creative energy to bear on the things we have to do each day. We say we do not have enough time or energy to do what we would really like to do? How does God attend the minutest detail of this vast universe? By being fully present in each new moment.
Fortunately, you and I do not have the responsibility of running the universe. All we are expected to do is live our lives successfully. We can learn from God by being fully present in this now moment, by giving our attention to the tasks at hand, and to let go of the problems of the past we can do nothing about. New wine, new wineskins is a thought worth holding each time we are tempted to pick up the old.