Trade and tradition

Here's to abundant living

Trade implies exchange. This is tradition in its proper sense: adapting the past to plan for the future. To cling to the way things were is not tradition, but rather traditionalism, and the demon of traditionalism is rife. It kills. Church historian Jaroslav Pelikan wrote that tradition ‘is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.’ The living faith of the dead gives life as we take it, mould it and adapt it, whereas the dead faith of the living is simply a charade, a sham, of perpetuating the past in a way that has no meaning at all to the present and future.

This is not an easy time to be a Christian. And that is no bad thing. Our version of Christianity needs to be brought down a peg or six. For too long is has hidden behind the trappings of power and the privileges of state. It is tarnished by association with political corruption. That it is being cleansed is a wonderful thing. Yes, the journey is painful and difficult, but we need constantly to ask ourselves why we come to church. Is it only as a badge of tribal identity? or is there some other message that draws us? For me, it is this: Jesus said, I come that all may have life, and have it in abundance.

To waste our lives squabbling in playground battles is as far removed from abundant living as it is possible to get.

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