Everyone has an opinion. And like it or not, every one has traditions.
As I find myself surrounded by the holidays, Christmas music in every store, people wearing antler headbands in public, I am brought to the idea of traditions.
As a general rule, I am not a fan of many tradition. Unless of course they are my own! Ha, how’s that for setting me back a few years on the maturity scale!
My church is extreme on tradition. If it was a sport, we would be at the Olympic level. I’m sure to some extent it is required, being that we are in the most beautiful sanctuary of Pasadena, probably of Southern California. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to sentimental stuff I’m all in, probably my favorite thing ever is heirloom jewelry.
Anyway, our church observes a lot of traditions in our daily life and structure. Many of our traditions are beautiful and have wonderfully deep rooted meanings. The problem, most of our congregations (including Moi) have no clue what they are. The thing about tradition is that at one time it was new, cutting edge, or maybe even a little controversial. But now, it’s sometimes so stale and irrelevant that we are loosing people in the “celebration”. Believe me, I sit at the front watching, I can see those sleepy looks.
So, I must ask, why? Why are we holding on to traditions that celebrate the life of the Church if they aren’t continuing the celebration? Where do we find the line between celebrating the past and moving into the future? Ministry is supposed to be alive. God is alive, the Holy Spirit is living. So why then do so many churches look dead? Why are so many churches closing their doors?
Every week I watch my students look lost as we move through the order of service and wait to be dismissed for youth group. Why are we doing this? This week I am going to talk about some of the traditions with my students. I like the big ones, Christmas, Easter, 3 Kings Day, Passover, to name a few. The Presbyterian Church likes their traditions and holidays and it has been a great experience learning about the many important events in the Christian life. I love knowing that I am joining in an age old celebration with many others around the world. I just don’t know how many is too many.
I am looking forward to starting our own traditions in our in youth group. I think the students will enjoy coming up with some traditions of their own, taking ownership and creating memories. After all, isn’t that part of the purpose of traditions? But, for the record, if these new traditions get stale, become ineffective, or no longer serve the purpose of serving others and creating active participants of faith please, STOP THEM IMMEDIATELY. It’s not worth it otherwise. Traditions are to fulfill a purpose and as someone who likes efficiency, please, please, please, do not continue on in something that is not working. Persevere in your faith, not in my tradition.
What do you think? What traditions do you want to hold on to and which ones would you like to see go? Tell me about your church or you family traditions?