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The inevitability of change

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins. Mark 2.22

On the final day of Tha Cultar Beò ann am Flòdaigearraidh (Culture is alive in Flodigarry), we actually spent some time in Flodigarry! We followed Archie's tractor around in the rain, while our locally born and bred host named the visible landmarks and explained the stories behind the names. Archie is senior in years and one wonders who will follow him. Of the 14 crofts which make up the village only 3 are still worked. Traditions of hospitality have changed too. No longer can one expect to relax over a late night snack (supper) with one's hosts. Instead everyone keeps to their private ensuite bedrooms, appears for a quick breakfast and then away...

Change comes to rural and island communities as it does to towns and cities. And it is not all bad. We were regaled with plans (in Flodigarry) to build a heritage centre, to provide a gathering place for the community and where courses such as ours can be hosted. Meanwhile an ambitious project to capture the songs and stories of the neighbouring district of Kilmuir has been launched, with training to be given to local school pupils and other members of the community so they can acquire the necessary filming and audio recording skills to participate.

Christians of all people need not be afraid of change. At the heart of our faith is that we are all being changed into the likeness of God himself, through Christ. Even this world, which we refer to as "fallen", is destined for renewal rather than destruction, when Jesus returns to bring heaven to earth, inaugurating the New Creation. Jesus' reference to wine and wineskins challenges us to keep up with the changes that come upon us, not to avoid them or pretend they are not happening. The gospel itself is not so much an invitation to change as a command: metanoiete - literally, "change your knowing"!



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