Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This week's lesson: Christ and religious tradition

Every church has its own traditions -- it's own way of doing things . . .

And what's more, these traditions are remarkably stable over time.

Yes, people may come and go at the Anytown SDA Church:
  • But the same kind of food will keep showing up at the potluck,
  • The same kind of people will keep staying after the potluck to clean up,
  • And if the person who guards the dessert table ever dies, then you can be sure that someone is ready and willing to take their place.
Not all of this is bad, of course. No, it saves time and thought to know that "we always bring baked beans to the potluck" -- and given what happened the time Mrs. Schmidt brought her prize-winning chocolate cake, perhaps it's just as well somebody makes sure that nobody takes seconds until everyone's had their chance.
  • But what happens when somebody comes with a different tradition -- when the new Samoan family, for instance, shows up at your potluck with fish?
  • What happens when somebody is tired of the old tradition -- when the people who always clean up would like some help from the people who always stand around and talk?
  • And what happens when people opt out of a tradition -- when the young mother of three isn't up to making a casserole for a dozen people . . . and so she skips the potluck and goes straight home instead?
In short, every church has its own traditions -- its own way of doing potlucks (and song services, and lesson studies, and funding student scholarships to its local Adventist school) . . . 
But how do you know when those traditions need to change?
And who changes them? 

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