Thursday, September 27, 2012

Truth vs. Tradition

The priest touched the heater, then took up the elements, blessed them, then passed them out. This scene played out every Sunday in a rural church for many years.

The pastor told me about this scene that would take place, predictably, in our rural church a long time ago.

The rural pastor would speak forth the homily for the day, then when he was prepared to hand out the elements -- the bread and the wine -- he would touch the heater so that the machine would not rock and make noise during the final part of the mass.

When the rural pastor retired, the new pastor deviated very little from the previous routine of the previous pastor, except that he did not touch the heater.

This slight change in routine was too much for the congregation to bear.

They made quite an uproar about it after his service. The members of the church could not cope with even the most minuscule change in the service.

The power of tradition cannot be underestimated. Human beings have this intense compunction when it comes to living by a set standard, a set outline for events from one day to the next.

The power of tradition kept many of the Jews locked into place, unwilling to leave the Old Covenant for the New.

"In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

How many traditions do we have in our lives which Christ Jesus has come to level away in us:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2: 8)

Paul later explains in greater detail the superiority of the Truth to any tradition:

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" (Colossians 2: 9-10)

Whatever we are looking for in this life, Jesus provides all of it. How could He not, since all things do in Him have their being? (Colossians 1: 18-20)

The word "rudiments" used in Colossians 2: 8 is the same word which Paul uses to disparage the law in relation to saving faith in Christ:

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4: 9)

It is no longer about our knowing Him, but rather our knowing and believing that He knows us! We are called no longer to hold on to a tradition, a set pattern which does not change, but rather we are called to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18)

The Truth is before there every was a tradition, just as the promise of faith was made to Abraham before the law was given to the Israelites (Galatians 3: 15-18).

The Truth was and is and always will be first:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6)


"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13: 8)

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