Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forcing the New Into the Old

Modify what we already had made, or build a new one? The only difference in this year's Science Olympiad requirements from last year, was the size of the trebuchet-- ours was 10 centimeters too big in all dimensions. Still, it had been a great trebuchet, shooting as far as the National winning treb. I saw no need to scrap it altogether, and it seemed to me,  time wise and cost wise, this was the best option.

My husband, Arvo, would be the one working with the kids since this part of the coaching involved the use of power equipment that could remove a body part before you can say "ouch". My team was skeptical about rebuilding. However, in the end, they agreed to give it a shot. It is still early enough in the season that if it didn't work, we could build a new one. They could devote all their creative energies then to building an ingenious Trebuchet flinging arm using advanced calculus and physics to determine the perfect arm design. And if that failed, we could fall back on the tried and true: luck.

From the beginning, things did not go swimmingly. Asherel had covered our old treb with beautiful duct tape designs. We had been very proud of how our treb had been by far the prettiest treb at the State contest. However, the duct tape covered the screws that we needed to unscrew to dismantle the treb in order to chop it down 10 cm.  She and Ben had to first cut off the duct tape around each screw.  They had hoped to cut down the size with minimal dismantling, thus chose to cut out the middle of each of the treb's legs. It seemed, in theory, like a very good idea. The reality (like always!) was not quite so wonderful. The top of the legs must have been slightly off from the bottoms of the legs, and it was very hard to get a completely clean, parallel cut. Thus now, the treb legs didn't quite line up. We think we can shim, and glue, and bolt in such a way that it might work. We are willing to put one more day into trying, but the full afternoon of a Saturday wrenched from the talon grip of leisure time ended a little disappointingly.

Sometimes, you can't force the new into the old. Jesus knew that. He has a wonderful parable just on that very topic! He tells his disciples that they can't pour new wine into old wineskins. If they attempt to do so, He advises, the old wineskins will burst and all the wine will be wasted.  I pondered this while I was guzzling new wine after our day of Trebuchet dismemberment. I could see His concern in not wasting one drop of wine, however I think the disciples, being poor men were interested in frugality. Wine skins were not easy to make.


This is the conversation the Bible did not record:
"Jesus, what about the proverb 'waste not, want not?' We have oodles of these old wineskins. Surely you are not telling us to toss those away just because they are a little cracked?"
"That is exactly what I am telling you. HINT: think fermentation. What do you think will happen when we pour that new wine in the old skin?"
"We save money and can put it towards that new Ferrari I have my eye on?"
"Remember, I never teach you things on a purely physical level. There is always a spiritual message."
"Yeh, money grows on trees, at least for you. Remember when one is not God, money is a little harder to come by. Let us just give the old skins a good old college try."
"I will put it to you plainly just this once. Scribe, please don't record this in the Book. I prefer my people try to figure it out for themselves. The lesson seems to stick better. Ok you thick headed disciples, listen up. The old covenant is represented by those old wineskins. This is the covenant where if you are perfect, you get to be with me. But if you are not, you have to keep repenting and sacrificing to try to restore my good favor. Let's have a show of hands on which of you perfectly followed my old Covenant laws? I thought so. Now, the new wine is the New Covenant- the covenant of faith, where the one atoning sacrifice of Jesus is the only one you need for all eternity. You can't go back to the old Covenant of working towards God, when the new better way of faith in God's perfect, substitutionary sacrifice is bubbling up. The law is no longer external...it is now written on your very heart. Yes, Thomas, you have a question?"
"Does that hurt?"
"Well of course it does, but believe me, it hurt Me, more than it will hurt you. You will have to give up some things, but there is no gain without pain."

The team and I looked at the dismantled Trebuchet.
"I don't think this is going to work," said Ben.
"Maybe not," I agreed, "But let's give it the old college try!"

Hebrews 8

1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.  3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[a] 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said[b]:
   “The days are coming, declares the Lord,
   when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
   and with the people of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant
   I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
   to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
   and I turned away from them,
            declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
   after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
   and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
   and they will be my people.
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
   or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
   from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
   and will remember their sins no more.”
 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

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