Traditions are good, but...

What defiles a man? Some would say it is one specific act, while others would say it is an accumulation of actions, all of which would be labeled as 'not very good'. Jesus was very specific - it is what in the heart that defiles a man. The actions are just a byproduct of what the heart desires or craves.

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Mark 7:5-8)

There will always be those who think tradition must be upheld. It doesn't matter that it has become meaningless and 'mindlessly' performed. It just needs to be upheld. What sense does that make? Traditions are good, but when they become meaningless and are nothing more than 'performance', they really aren't worth pursuing, are they?

What is worse are those 'religious traditions' we 'follow', but we have no real understanding as to 'why' we are following them or what they are supposed to accomplish in our lives. This is why Jesus focuses so much on relationship with him. Relationship might involve some tradition - after all, Jesus taught his disciples to pray and to remember him through the 'tradition' of communion. The 'tradition' is not the focus, but rather the one who is the focus of that 'purposeful activity'.

Remember this - Jesus is always after the heart. His desire is a change of heart for each of us. Not so much that we forget all human traditions, but that we consider the 'value' or 'worth' of them based on what they accomplish. The tradition of gathering together on a certain holiday might bring those together who are miles apart, allowing a renewal of relationship, up close and personal. The tradition of going to church on Sunday just because it is what you have always done might not be such a good one because it lacks the closeness of relationship Jesus desires. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

Steel in your convictions

Sentimental gush

Not where, but who