Sometimes in our Churches, and in our communities, and in politics  there can be an ideological battle between traditionalists and  those who seek change, between radical and conservatives.   Because we all have different temperaments it can result in us "taking sides"

But there is a third way.  In the church "tradition"  is simply what the Holy Spirit did and taught us in the church in the past continuing to echo down the years. It adds richness, continuity  and means we don't have to learn everything anew in every generation. But the same Holy Spirit continues to speak and work in the church today.

Jesus and the Apostles aways liked to talk of the church as living body, ever changing.  We are constantly evolving growing and creating new traditions under the guidance of the same Spirit .

That's why lots of our favourite "old" traditions are still quite new comparatively in the 2000 years of Christian history,  like Harvest Festivals, Christingles, Carol Services,  pews or seats in church for everyone,  and hymn singing.        

I recently went back to visit my home city of Liverpool. It is a city full of amazing breathtaking Victorian Architecture. To us now it seems to embody the best in tradition but in its own era  it was daring it daring , radical , energetic youthful and brash!

The history of the Church and (indeed wider history) is full of radical movements that ignored their roots and burnt bright for a few years or maybe just their own  generation but burnt out. The growth can be stunning but like a cancer cell that does not accurately reproduce its DNA, such a group often  loses it place in the body and dies.   (this is danger for the more yourthful churches)  But there have been even more  congregation and groups  who clung out to the past, refusing change and simply declined and died with a wimper (a risk for all congregations who older or middle aged ie have primarily members who are 40+ )

But if we can embrace change and honour tradition, if we can discern the work of the Spirit in the old AND  the new, then we can pass a thriving church to our children and grandchildren. A church and community  that includes  the best of the traditions we inherited, a few we helped to create, and enough  life and vitality and openness so they too can play their part in its future growth and form.       







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