Daily Office Readings for Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent 2020: Year 1
“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:15)
I did not grow up churched. I wish I had been. I raised three of my daughters with a Church tradition however; but I still don’t know if it stuck. At least they have it in their bones if they ever want to revert back to it. I probably should have done more lecturing about “holding fast” to their tradition.
I have been a practicing Christian along the Episcopal path since my Baptism at the Easter Vigil of 1980. So I have a little over forty years of ingrained Church tradition. If you say, “The Lord be with you,” I can’t help but respond, “And also with you.” It even slips out when I am watching a Star Wars movie and I hear, “The Force be with you.” In a low voice I whisper, “And also with you.” It has become my tradition.
In Education for Ministry (EfM), we do Theological Reflection. With Theological Reflection we are shown that there are four sources from which all major concerns come. Of the four sources, Tradition means Christian Tradition which includes our Church, the Bible, Christian music or writings as well as Christian art. Theological Reflection asks us to consider our Tradition when pondering our experiences in life. As Paul says, we must stand firm in our Church traditions as we consider our thoughts and actions.
I was an active duty Marine for 30 years, I have been an active duty Christian now for more than 40 years, fifteen of those forty years as clergy. I have a lot of ingrained discipline and tradition, and I’m thankful for all of it.
All of us have some kind of life tradition taught to us by parents, or, as in my case, the institutions we joined and grow up in. While I support young people in participating in the military as part of their personal development and as a civic and patriotic duty, I strongly encourage them to become participating and practicing members of a faith community. They should keep up with the passing weeks in their lives not by their days off, but rather, by their meetings with like-minded worshipers on a weekly basis. Church needs to be our tradition and we should hold fast to those traditions that we were taught by parents, pastors and Christian educators.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John