A New Skin

“But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” Luke 5:38

My Dear Friends in Christ,

It is so good to finally be among the beautiful people of St. David’s! Thank you for such a warm welcome thus far–from emails to phone calls, to joyful greetings in the hallway, to a delicious bag of blueberries left outside my office door. I feel extremely blessed to begin this journey with all of you. However, I must admit that it comes with some growing pains.

Packing our home in Lake Tahoe and navigating a cross country move with three teenagers and a dog was far from a walk in the park. Now, as I begin to slow my pace, settle down, and feel somewhat stationary again, I have discovered a deep longing. I ache for a sense of normalcy, a sense of stability, a sense of knowing the landscape that surrounds me. The coffee pot and tea kettle are not where they are supposed to be as I stumble out of bed in the morning; my beloved books have yet to make their way to the church office causing an internal kerfuffle when I was looking for a needed reference; my sense of direction is totally askew as I navigate new roads and unfamiliar landmarks. Everything seems strange and foreign.

As a culture we tend to idolize new beginnings and fresh starts. We make them sound all bright and shiny, when in fact they are really challenging; it is a death process we are undertaking. We are letting go of something old to invite in something new, and embracing an ending so we can participate in a beginning. Yet if we sit in what was, we will never enjoy the dream of what can be. Day in and day out, God through Jesus Christ is doing a new thing in our lives. God is actively working on our hearts, working to transform us for our work ahead in this world. We are not the same one day to the next and should not pretend that we are.

In one of Jesus’ wisdom sayings, he invites us to consider an old wineskin, reminding us that if we put new wine into it, it would burst the skin, spilling out, not being of any use. So instead, one must use a new and fresh wine skin for the new wine.

I find it tempting to put back on an old wine skin, to go back to what is comfortable and knowable, instead of embracing the beautiful future that God has in store for me. I can imagine that we as a community of faith might find this tempting as well. There are several endings happening at St. David’s. This month we will say goodbye to our beloved Parish Administrator, Leslie Robertshaw, and by the end of the year we will give thanks and celebrate the long and fruitful ministry of our Rector, Frank Allen. It will be tempting to want to put back on the old when God is already dreaming of new individuals to help to lead our congregation. God already has a grander vision than we could ask or imagine. God is doing a new thing in us this day and every day. Are we willing embrace it and put on a new skin?

God’s peace and love,

The Rev. Sarah A. Dunn+
Associate Rector