The Taste of New Wine

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”

Mark 2:22

Yesterday I offered some reflections on Mark 2:22, a verse that speaks of wine and wineskins. Today I want to add some additional thoughts before I move on in the Gospel of Mark. I simply must say something about The Taste of New Wine.

First, a little history. Laity Lodge was founded by Howard E. Butt, Jr., in 1961. Shortly thereafter, Laity Lodge called its first director, Keith Miller. Keith was a businessman who had had a powerful experience of God’s grace and had begun to share this with others in a ministry of speaking, retreat leading, writing, and small group-facilitation. As a layperson committed to spiritual renewal, Keith was well-suited for Laity Lodge.

During his years as director, Keith was working on a book, one that significantly reflected his experiences at Laity Lodge. This book was published in 1965 as The Taste of New Wine. Soon it became a major bestseller, read by millions of people throughout the world. This book, along with the cutting-edge ministry of Howard Butt, helped to “put Laity Lodge on the map” of spiritual renewal.

My parents were among those who were powerfully impacted by The Taste of New Wine. I remember my dad reading this book when I was about ten years old. I asked him about it because I thought it was actually about wine. I was confused because my dad didn’t drink. Why read a book about new wine? He explained the real meaning of the title and mentioned that it was an excellent book. Soon, my parents were in a small group with other Christians, learning to experience “the taste of new wine” in their own lives.

Over four decades later, people are still tasting the new wine of God. It begins when we hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet that’s not the end, but just the beginning of drinking in the new wine of the kingdom. God wants to do a new work in and through us each day. If we make ourselves available to him, if we open our hearts and minds, if we allow him to direct our paths, then we will be supple wineskins for God’s new wine.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you tasted the new wine of God? When? What helps you to be open to God’s renewing work in your life each day?

PRAYER: Thank you, dear Lord, for the early ministry of Laity Lodge and Keith Miller. Thank you for the way that you used The Taste of New Wine in millions of lives, including the lives of my own parents. Thank you for your ongoing work of renewal, for offering us the new wine of the Gospel each day.

Help me, dear Lord, to be open and available to you. May I be a ready, flexible wineskin for your new wine. By your grace, may I let go of the old skins that can no longer hold the wine of renewal.

I would also ask, Lord, that Laity Lodge continue to be a place where people drink in your new wine. May many come to know you for the first time at Laity Lodge. And may many others experience the renewing, empowering work of your Spirit in this place.

Finally, I thank you for the opportunity to share the essence of Laity Lodge through other media. Keith touched so many lives through his writing. May this also happen through the ministry of and these Daily Reflections.

All praise be to you, God of the new wine! Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.