Did you all enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving? Were there certain things that you celebrated as part of a “family tradition”? Maybe it was a special food, a walk in the park, or a game that you always play. When I was growing up it was enjoying Aunt Margie’s rolls or my Mom’s pumpkin pie!
Now may your name be sung in every tongue in every place. Singing the fame of your great love in ev’ry generation. – Greg Schneer
The dictionary describes tradition as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation”. And whenever I hear “Tradition!” I can’t help but think of the song from Fiddler on the Roof.
This week I hosted my Tuesday Reading Club for the first meeting of the season. This Reading Club, which was established 121 years ago, has traditions. One tradition is that each member hosts one meeting and presents a paper at another. When you host, tea is poured from a silver tea service (if you don’t have one, another member will lend you theirs) and served in china tea cups. Members love the tradition of having Tea on Tuesday afternoons from October to March.
Children love traditions too. It gives them a sense of belonging. Family traditions build a collective feeling of shared experiences that encourages conversation and telling of stories. “Remember last year when …”
In that way, traditions have power – in families, in the church, even in our nation. In this country, one of the most powerful traditions is Remembrance Day. Stories and rituals of a time long gone are passed on to new generations.
The Christian church is steeped in tradition from liturgy, music, sacraments, and stained-glass windows to our system of church government.
Sometimes the traditions get in the way when people don’t want to try something new, different, or risky. We have all heard, “we have never done it that way before!”
By the same token, some churches try to do away with all traditions.
Neither approach is healthy for a congregation of God’s people.
Greg Scheer has written a beautiful song called One Generation Will Call to the Next.
One generation will call to the next:
“Our God is good and his hand is strong!”
All of the world sings his marvelous acts
and our voice will join with theirs in the song.
I invite you to cultivate meaningful traditions in your home and in your church lives. We are all the richer for them.