He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”
Jesus points out that not everybody seeks out a complete relationship with Him. Rather, they pick and choose parts of the faith to follow, and parts to dismiss. Doing so is like trying to sew new fabric onto old, or pouring new wine into old wineskins. When wine is placed into wineskins, the two form together as the wine matures and the skins stretch. Old wineskins will have no more give and would burst with new wine poured in. This metaphor displays how when we live in relationship with Christ, we have to let Him be the one to guide our decision making to reshape our lives away from sin and selfishness and into joy and purpose.
Following Jesus requires a wholistic faith that will touch every part of our lives. As we seek to use our gifts to serve Him and the needs of others, we are changed and molded. This life of faith requires the discipline of self-examination and repentance that will work in us to make us united more and more with Christ. But this death of self and sacrificial offering of our lives leads us to experience the joy of the Lord's creation, his might, his providence and love. Our unity with Jesus, our 'wedding' to Him is profoundly intimate and life-giving if we are vulnerable enough to reveal all of ourselves in the desire to allow Christ to live in us.
Today, know that the Lord does not require a partial relationship with you where sometimes you are close and sometimes you are distant. He wants you to constantly know his presence in your life. Choose today to draw near the Lord, whether it is through the sorrow of repentance or the gladness of celebration, and either way, fully embrace the joy of the fidelity of his everlasting love.