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Articles

What is Our Tradition?

What is Our Tradition?

By Paul R. Blake

            It is said that during a Sabbath service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated yelled at those who were standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.

            The rabbi, as learned as he was in the Law and Talmud, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a 98-year-old man who was one of the original founders of their synagogue. The rabbi hoped the aged man would be able to tell him what their actual tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative from each faction of the divided congregation.

            The one who represented those who stood during Shema said to the old man, "Is it our tradition to stand during this prayer?" The old man answered, "No, that is not our tradition." The one who spoke for those who sat during Shema asked, "Is it our tradition to sit during prayer?" The old man answered, "No, that is not our tradition."

            Then the frustrated rabbi said to the old man, "But the congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand..." The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is our tradition!"

            I wonder how many congregations have that same tradition. Seriously though, what is our tradition?  What is it that we have done over and over until it has become what we are known for?  Is it our posture in prayer? The number of verses in the songs we sing? Or is it fussing over some matter of expediency?            

            Traditions of men are to be rejected when they oppose the commandments of God (Mark 7:9), but tradition is nothing more than the we way we normally do things. Wouldn't it be great to have a tradition of loving, harmonious service to God? Or a tradition of unity in the faith and peace in Christ?

            The church in Thessalonica had great traditions. Paul speaks of it as he opens his second letter to them: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure” (2Thes. 1:3-4). “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2Thes. 2:13-15).

            What is our tradition? Or rather what do we contribute to keeping the traditions of peace, love, strength, and growth in this place?

Food For Thought

The Power of Money

Money can buy:

A soft bed, but not sound sleep

Good books, but not sound reasoning

Delicious food, but not healthy appetites

Fine clothes, but not a good appearance

A solid house, but not a happy home

The best medicine, but not good health

Great luxuries, but not good culture

Diverting amusements, but not lasting happiness

Many companions, but not faithful friends

Abundant flattery, but not true respect

A Good Leader

“The good leader gets things done with little motion. He imparts instructions, not through many words, but through a few good deeds. He keeps informed about everything, but he interferes very little. He is a catalyst, and though things would be done if he were not there, they would not be done as well. And, when through his efforts, things succeed, he takes no credit; and, because he takes no credit, credit never leaves him.” (Lao-Tzu)

Five Simple Rules for Life

1. Enthusiasm is not a random mood; it is a daily choice.

2. Taking time to listen to another is a rare and special gift -- for both of you.

3. Self-confidence is a matter of focusing on and using what you do have.

4. A sincere compliment is both the least expensive and most valuable gift one can offer another.

5. Wisdom lies in realizing that the only moment in which we can live fulfilled lives is the present.

Questions about the Bible

What is the Book of New Testament Prophecy?_________________

What is the Book of New Testament Church History?_________________

What are the “Synoptic” Gospel Accounts?__________________

What are “Epistles”?___________________

What Books are Addressed to “Theophilus”?________________

What Books are Letters to Preachers? ___________________

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