Friday, September 9, 2011

We've Always Done it This Way

Tradition is often a very good thing. It provides a type of liturgy for our lives; a regularity that is instructive and comforting. We like what we know and we don’t like what we don’t know. However, when we take the time to learn and do some new things (with good attitudes), we come to know and like many of them as well. Traditions can both be born and die. Becoming members of a group (e.g., a family or a church, etc.), means we should adopt the traditions of that group. We also have to recognize that as the group grows it also changes; that’s what living things do. If we’re going to grow with it, we too have to adapt to certain “new” things. New things, at some point, become old things. Every tradition had a beginning (and was probably resisted by some when it was new).

There are overarching traditions that most families or churches celebrate (e.g., birthdays, or Easter), and there are local traditions that develop with a given family or congregation (we always sing a certain song, or we have an annual family camp, etc.). One thing to remember in the midst of these traditions is the distinction between law and liberty. God requires certain things e.g., in worship; these are not optional. He also allows many other things for us to freely enjoy. We may not, however, turn our traditions into obligations. Traditions, within a biblical framework, are good things. Traditionalism, on the other hand, elevates traditions higher than they were meant to be. It’s another form of formalism, which the Bible prohibits. 

1 comment: