Read Matthew 15:1-20

Jessica Tate, Executive Director of Next Church, reminds us that much of what we do today in the church as our tradition are new inventions.  Up until 60 or 70 years ago most churches were a single building with a single room.  There may have been an office or one classroom for members to meet, but that was it.  The sprawling multi-building campus with classrooms, gymnasiums, commercial kitchens, playgrounds, and even bookstores that are the essence of so much of our tradition today had not been dreamed up.  As a pastor I am aware of the energy and resources it takes to maintain our tradition.

Jesus is questioned as to why his disciples do not adhere to the tradition of his era.  Rather than answering the question, Jesus asks the very same thing of the Pharisees.  It seems they too have amnesia when it comes to the observance of tradition.  The Pharisees too had traditions invented in their time that had not predated them.  Jesus uses the word hypocrite.

It's a little strange for me to consider that the problem Jesus notices with tradition (and perhaps the problem for us too) is that we don't go far enough back to identify from where our traditions come.  It's not that we hold to the past to stridently when observing tradition, but rather that we don't understand what past we are holding to.

Jesus points all the way back to Isaiah.  The good news is that we believe in God who is ancient and new in every moment.  The heart of worship is to seek God in all we do, in tradition and beyond.  Grateful today for the history of our faith and the gifts of tradition.


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