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“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 slipped into the driver’s seat. However, if we dredged up the memory of a past auto accident every time we took the wheel, our paranoia may hinder our present driving performance.
If you carry old wounds into a new day, you 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.
2 thoughts on “The Value of Letting Go”
A practical illustration: It is not a good idea to hire an ambitious minister with his own agenda to patch the hole left when an unhappy spiritual leader resigns, either. Within a short time, he will leave also, taking away not only the new people he brought in, but some of the old membership who were attracted to the new message. It takes some re-weaving of old cloth with new cloth to mend the hole without destroying the garment.
It sounds like you had a not-so-good experience with a minister. A church can certainly provide a growing environment in more ways than one.