header image
 

All posts in June 29th, 2016

Part 39, June 29, 2016

Traditions

I know, early on I said something about church traditions being unhelpful–and they can be! But they can also be extremely helpful. The important thing, I think, is to keep in mind that traditions exist in order to help folks to build their faith in God, not in the traditions themselves.

Church traditions may vary from denomination to denomination and from church to church and even from family to family. For my purposes, I consider the Catholic church to be a denomination like any other, and not a different religion from the protestant denominations–all are Christian. The word “christian” means “follower of Christ.” Traditions exist in order to help us follow Christ more fully. When they accomplish that purpose, it can be beautiful!!! When traditions are followed for their own sake, the result can be pretty ugly, because at that point we’re worshipping the tradition rather than the God and the deeper realities that they point to.

One example is Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, whatever you want to call it. In some churches, it is served every Sunday while in others it’s monthly or even less often. I find it to be a very meaningful tradition and would like to see it shared every week, but I would also like to see more focus given to the fact that it’s pointing to the reality of sharing EVERY meal with Jesus; that EVERY meal is a gift from God; that EVERY time we share food with others and even EVERY time we eat alone, Jesus is right there with us. EVERY time we eat can be a celebration of communion with God. How cool is that? Yet, how often have you heard that in church?