Monday, 20 June 2011

Tradition and Change

As with most polar opposites we like to classify things, life and people are usually on a continuum. The same is true concerning tradition and change. I don't know about you but when I think about tradition I think about the Catholic church, or even the pharisees in the Bible who hold on to tradition at all costs. But then when I think about change I think of hippies and challenging the status quo. I think that both tradition and change can be good things, but also bad things.

Tradition is something that the Pharisees held so highly that they had esteemed it on the same level as scripture. Often the reason for how upset they got with Jesus was because he didn't follow their traditions. But tradition is not a bad thing inherently. It helps us to pass along culture, teach lessons, and sustain community. Traditions carry meaning. We remember things about our past and value our history because of traditions. Holidays and festivals are one category of tradition that almost everyone observes in varying degrees. In fact, when you think about it, it is impossible for humans to not hold traditions because that would mean living differently all the time, which in a way would be a tradition of its own. Its just in the case when traditions become so important to us that they become a detriment to life and faith, which was the case of the Pharisees. It is in these instances that Change is necessary and desirable.

Change in culture is not an easy thing. People in general do not like to change. It requires the power and motivation of the Lord to create change in individual lives and in cultures. But Change can also be a bad thing. If we start to change things that shouldn't be changed, it because a detriment. If we seek to change the laws of God and say something like one of the ten commandments and say that stealing is no longer wrong, then change is a bad thing. There are certain unalterable truths about God and his character and to attempt to change what he has commanded of us is wrong.

People tend to lean one way or another on this continuum and value tradition over change or vice versa change over tradition. However, I see both qualities in our Lord Jesus who sought to change what was erroneous and contrary to His will, but also upheld the traditions that bring people closer to God. It requires discernment to tell the difference.

For His Glorious Name,

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