Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tradition, A Meal and Doing New Things

This is the communion meditation for Highlands Church of Christ, as given 10/7/2012:

Tradition plays an important role in how my family does things. I got to thinking about that when I was making hotcakes for everybody. My wife reminded me of how my life has been shaped by tradition later that evening. My first name is a traditional first name for my family. Hotcakes are a traditional breakfast. I grew up going to weekly fish fry suppers at Possum Hollow, and Sunday Dinners at Grandma, and Grandpa's house. When it is the fourth of July, it is time for a family reunion, and I look forward to my 80th birthday party, that's the big party in my family. Tradition is important, it keeps the family together, and tells the stories of where we have been.

Some people are against tradition, I don't understand why, but they feel like change is coming, and that change is good. I like change every now and again my own self. Sometimes change is needed and necessary. Something may be broke, and not fixable. Something could be worn out, or inadequate for the job you are trying to do. There is a danger here though, because change for the sake of change is a dangerous thing. From what I've seen in this world, things that change too quickly do not do well. Perhaps you've heard that bit of wisdom "It's not the fall that kills you, but the sudden stop at the end." I also know that a pond that is stagnant and unchanging will die, suffocated. Somewhere between rigid unchanging repetitive motion, and constant change is life. I think tradition helps us find that. The relationship we have with God is built in tradition. When used appropriately tradition calls to mind the past good that God has done for us, and calls us to do right. When done wrong, tradition condemns us, and enslaves us. I think it helps when we establish the right tradition. The right tradition begins in Scripture, with The Good News, the Gospel. The Gospel has been present since the fall of man, and is present with us until the day of the coming of the Lord. The message hasn't changed, listen to it:

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (ESV)

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.  9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
 You see, this is our tradition! The tradition was initialized in the Garden of Eden when God promised the Crusher is coming. It was there when Jacob blessed his Children, and promised that the scepter would not depart from Judah. The Tradition was confirmed when Moses told the Hebrews to slay a lamb, and spread its blood on the lintel and doorposts. The tradition flickered, but was passed down through Isaiah during dark times, when he promised that the stump of Jesse would produce a branch that would bear fruit. The tradition came to Mary, and she was with a child even though she had no husband. The tradition lived in her son, who is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Crusher, the Ruler, the Stump of Jesse, the Lamb of God. He made the tradition real and tangible on the night he was betrayed, taking bread, and calling it his body. He took a cup, and called what was in it his blood, the seal of the new covenant. Then he made that tradition the Final Tradition, offering himself on the cross for our sins. That's the key to what we proclaim when we take the bread and cup during this time. Christ has made us a promise. His body and blood for our sins, and we share in that tradition every week.

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