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Grounded on/in Tradition!

Funny how changing that middle word can change the meaning of the statement. If you're grounded in tradition, your tradition gives you a foundation to build on and has a great connotation but if you're grounded on tradition it sounds like your stuck in your old ways of doing things with no means of moving forward.

A few years back a mentor of mine who is now with Jesus, Jon Glover, used this analogy when I asked him about an issue of tradition in the church. He said, as he took a deep breath, set down his hammer, and looked my way: "Darby, many times when dealing with issues like these in the church, we should view it like a river. We are each in a canoe rowing down river with the end goal of our journey being eternity with Jesus and a life patterned after His. Some of us are a little further left in the river and some a little further right and really it doesn't matter until, occasionally, a person or group of people get so far to one side that they get stuck on the rocks or entangled in the overhanging brush and at that point, they stop moving towards Jesus." Then he paused for a second and looked intently at me and said "I really don't care where in the river your at, you can be further left or right of me on any particular issue but as long as we both keep moving forward, getting closer to Jesus every day I think He is happy. Tradition only becomes a problem when it keeps us from moving closer to Jesus."

I feel like in our culture, tradition, when used in the context of the church, has a bad connotation. It leaves a bad taste in our mouth, and that's probably because we have all seen some people get so entrenched in the way they have done things in the past that they forget the importance of loving God and the people around them.

I believe tradition can play a very important role in our lives and that includes making new traditions that may possibly become traps for our children to get stuck in. I don't think we should haphazardly throw away our age-old tradition neither should we plant our flags on the hill of tradition only to die there. Most traditions were created to help and strengthen us in our faith and many of them are commanded as foundations of our faith like communion. Now the how, the way we keep these sacraments of the faith may be where we find ourselves stuck, not in the sacrament itself, but the way we go about it. Whatever we do, let us keep our focus on what lies ahead and that is a life built on Jesus Christ, a life of freedom, righteousness, love and peace and may all of these "traditions" be constantly measured against the unchanging, always relevant truth of the Bible as we navigate the river of life on our way to eternity. May God give you and I both wisdom and grace as we make decisions about these issues, as He says in James chapter 1 verse 5, He will give wisdom to those who ask and don't doubt.

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