March 27, 1989
Can’t sew patch from new garment on an old one, new will not match the old—
Can’t pour new wine into old wineskins, will ruin container and lose wine.
“We must enjoy God’s good gifts while he gives them.” Allan E.
Step out with gratitude and accept the new.
God has given us a new garment—new wine! Our life in Samarkand! We step out tomorrow to wear the new garment … to taste and drink and be satisfied with the new wine he will give.
Let us be careful not to try to patch up the old in any way—or to pour the new into the old—
What will this involve?
Each time I reread this page in my mother’s journal I discover new and surprising meanings. It occurred to me that the process I have gone through in meditating on and interpreting my mother’s words nicely parallels how we are to interpret God’s words for us in holy Scripture. Thus, I submit the following as a parable of biblical interpretation.
We could start at many different places in our interpretation of my mother’s journal entry. Let me start at a personal level, which is where we usually start in biblical interpretation. The first time you read this text you can easily grasp some of its meaning, even if you know nothing about its author. Especially if you are moving into a new situation, you may respond with empathy: “Yes! This text reflects what is going on in my life. I want to let go of the old and accept the new. This text challenges me to move freely and enthusiastically into my new life!” That was my first response when I read this page. In this kind of reader-response, the text stands as a mirror reflecting our own situation.
The same thing often happens when we read Scripture. We respond to it because we see ourselves in the text. We hear our own thoughts, ...1
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