I have to admit… I feel a little naughty. It’s 7:40 Sunday morning. And I’m not at home getting ready for church. Instead, I am seated at one of my favorite Caribous, writing.
And it feels… freeing.
Now, before anyone panics and thinks I have led my family to forsake the gathering of the brethren, relax. We still do church. We even do it on Sunday! We have simply decided our best spiritual course is to break from tradition.
Traditions can be wonderful touchstones to our past, connections that help anchor us to something greater. But every tradition was once a revolution, or at least a break from what used to be the tradition.
I love tradition. There is a comfortable feeling I get when I slide into an old wood pew and grab the red hymnal, turning as instructed to hymn 271, first and third verses only. There is a beautiful resonance to the upright piano and the somewhat off-key church choir singing with such heart that I cannot help but think this heartfelt, joyful noise is very pleasing to God. Likewise, I believe the Lord finds pleasure in many of the worship choruses and praise bands that are now the new tradition.
But the problem with tradition is the narrowing of focus it can bring. I find it alarming to hear pastors and other Christians who deride open minded ness with statements about being so open minded that your brains might fall out. Had the first believers not been open minded enough to see Christ, how hopeless would we be today?
Tradition can, if driven to the point of closed mindedness, splinter and divide, instead of pulling us together as it should (after all, we are all the body of Christ?). I really do not want to raise my little boy to be a follower of Apollos or Paul or Cephas. I want him to follow Christ and Him alone.
Again, this is not an anti- church message. Far from it. I would strongly urge anybody who is not an active part of a community of believers to get connected. Be it a large mega church or a small home fellowship, hook in. Connect. Engage. Join a small group or life group or whatever your church calls it’s house groups. Go where you feel led by God. Just don’t get so bound up by tradition that the heart of Christianity is hardened. Legalism squelches the Spirit.
So… as for me and my, we will serve The Lord. We will not forget the importance of community but, rather, will continue to embrace it wholeheartedly. But we are also choosing to worship outside the box, because that is where we feel led by God.