Living Tradition

Luke 11
“After Jesus had spoken,  a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.   You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

When I think of the Pharisees, I don’t think “GENEROUS.”  Pharisees don’t come up with 101 ways to thank mom and dad. In fact, they were the original Scrooges.    Pharisees obey each of the ten commandments but come with 101 ways to break the spirit of the Law. Instead of washing their heart with hyssop, they focus on their hands, feet, forks, and knives.  Instead of dedicating their lives to God as a CORBAN (the Hebrew word for an offering (Leviticus 1:2; Numbers 7:13), the  Pharisees developed a narrow, provincial, and stingy tradition.

If you are stuck at the dead end of tradition, one of the best ways to recapture the openness to God’s living tradition is creation.    In Romans 1, Paul speaks of those who have failed to read scripture alongside nature.  In Psalm 19, David speaks of two testaments, the word of God and God’s creative word.

Ornithologists believe there are 10 billion birds in the USA in the spring and 20 billion in the fall.    When God said “Let the birds fly,” He wasn’t fooling around.  Did you know there are 5000 different species of ocean fish with hundreds of thousands yet to be discovered? God’s creative grace, exists in superabundant amounts.

The tradition made in God’s image is teeming with good; its imagination is fertile, and it multiplies.   It turns the wild into the sacred, and it spreads like leaven consuming the entire earth.  A great example of a living tradition is Sunday worship.   The Sun-day becomes the Son-Day.   The Resurrections makes all of the traditions of the world holy.  Living Tradition takes the wild, raucous Saturnalia festival and creates the living tradition of Advent and Christmas.   It takes the Sumerian goddess myth of Inanna hanging on a cross rising from the dead creating into the truth of Easter.   The tradition begins in the heart.  Allow the living tradition to take root.

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