The Song of the Wineskins

Today I would like to share with you a guest post from my good friend Stephen Anthony. Br. Stephen is a Celtic Christian living in the USA. He writes somewhere in the liminal space between poetry and prose and always has something insightful to say. He is a member of our community and has a deep love for the Celtic and Orthodox faiths and seeks to express the deep intertwining of the two through his writing. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!


Come and listen to Holy Wisdom.


Can you hear it?

Tell me, why are you crying? Is it because you feel like you don’t belong? Are you alone in your church, your family, your home or your friends? Do not be afraid. Have you not listened to the wineskins? They say that one does not put new wine into old wine skins. To do so would make it bitter and unpleasant. It could even cause the old skins to tear, bleeding the new wines upon the earth.

New wines must find new skins.

Beloved, you are the new wine. There has never been one like you, nor will there ever be again. Your fragrance and glow is unique and all your own. If friends, or family, or churches do not understand your beauty then take heart. They are not meant to hold you. They are the old wineskins. They will change you, break you, and cast you upon the stones. Therefore do not weep over the opinions of the old and brittle. These all shall pass, and it is time to find your new skin.

Now, can you hear it?

Are you crying because you fear change? Are you afraid of becoming different? It is the nature of wine to age and to mature. It is how we bring our complexities into the world. If we did not do so, the world would be found lacking and made tasteless. In this we are needed. Take heart, and know that even God changes. If this is so then why shouldn’t we? God flows and moves with life, and dances with it in its myriad forms. Yet even though such change happens, God also remains unchanged. Embrace this truth, that God can change and remain unchanged. Do not try to understand it or subject it to your reason. It is not something to be mastered. Only see it, and see where it leads. Let it make you dance. 

Look upon the wine once more. It may age and its taste may change, but as wine it still remains.

In the same way you also change and remain unchanged. Once you were a child, and now you are grown. Change will come to you yet again. Yet through it all something remains. Inside where the divine dwells, you remain unchanged: the changeless embodied in the changed, the Incarnation reborn. This is the secret of Mt Tabor. The unchanging light which shines through the Son, the timeless passing through the time bound. If you can see this as plain as the Apostles did, you will find your peace. 

Now, can you hear it?

This is the song of the wineskins and the light unchanging of Tabor. Pause, breathe, and listen deeply. You will find that there is nothing to be afraid of. Change will come. So even if tears come with it, take heart, because to hear the song of the wineskins is to hear God weeping with you.

This is Grace.

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