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18 August 2013

Sermon: Proper 15C (Psalm)

18 August AD 2013
Pentecost 13

Title: Wineskins in the Smoke (MP3 Audio)

Wineskin Summary: Today’s Psalm presents an unfamiliar but apt picture. Few if any of us have animal skins full of wine hanging around our smoky homes. Indeed, most of us would end up with split skins and spilled wine because we wouldn’t know how to care for them or when to replace them.

Dry and hardened leather with cracked lacing won’t hold a full load of wine for very long. If you try refilling it, it may leak gradually or it may suddenly and catastrophically burst, spilling the precious contents. Jesus noted this, saying, “No one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins — and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins. (Mark 2:22)”

How shall we receive and retain the “new wine,” the blood of Christ shed for us, the sweet forgiveness of the Gospel, and all good from above? Our old, fallen natures are incapable of holding on to God’s precious gifts — we must be made new in order to hold the new.

To accomplish this, Jesus became our “Wineskin in the smoke.” The Father hung His Son out to dry. Our Savior allowed Himself to be parched, torn apart, and drained out so that He could make us into new wineskins and fill us to overflowing.

As vessels of grace, we discover that Christ doesn’t skimp on the outpouring. He gives us more than we need, more than we ever desire. Then He keeps pouring Himself out that we might overflow to others, so the new wine of the Gospel might refresh family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and even enemies.

Text: My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.

My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?”

Christ after the Flagellation For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.

How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me?

The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.

All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me!

They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.

In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth. Psalm 119:81-88

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Wineskins in the Smoke.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-31 (32-40); 12:1-3; Luke 12:49-53 (54-56)

About the Painting: This is a detail of Christ Consoled by Angels or Christ after the Flagellation by Mexican artist Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz. While such graphic representations of Jesus’ Passion were common in 18th Century Mexico, Morlete Ruiz made explicit the connection between our Savior’s suffering and death and the Lord’s Supper as he shows angels sopping Christ’s blood into chalices and gathering His torn flesh to the paten like manna in the Wilderness.

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