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Traditions

Traditions that we hold dear are the basis for actions in daily living.  Traditions can be the reading of Scripture and prayer before the evening meal while the family is gathered at the table. Traditions can include an “every Saturday” routine that the family knows is set and not to be questioned.  Traditions in jobs cause some companies and workers to operate like automatons as they go through the same patterns of “doing the job” daily.

Colleges have lots of traditions.  They range from the things done for (or to) new freshmen as the first semester begins.  They can include graduation traditions of each year’s senior class.  There are a myriad number of traditions related to the sports teams and their game day rituals.

Churches are famous for traditions.  Over the last centuries, the way we dress or sing may have been modified but the worship order is a “tradition”.  Every person knows that when you go to church, there is going to be singing, greeting each other, prayer, opportunity for giving financially, a sermon, and an appeal to make a commitment to Christ and, of course “announcements”.  The traditions become crystallized in some congregations over what kind of songs are correct, what version of the Bible is allowed, how women are allowed to dress or make-up their faces, what length of time the preacher should preach (not to be exceeded!), and/or what time church service should start on Sunday morning so that we “start at the same time Moses did” in the Exodus Sabbath worship.

Sometimes, we discover our traditions should not be continued.  Here is a stellar illustration of that….

It is said that during a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.

The rabbi, learned as he was in the Torah and Talmud, didn’t know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98-year-old man, who was one of the original founders of their congregation. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation.

The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, “Is it our tradition to stand during this prayer?” 

The old man answered, “No that is not our tradition.”

The one whose followers sat asked, “Is it our tradition to sit during Shema?” The old man answered, “No that is not our tradition.”

Then the rabbi said to the old man, “The congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand…”  The old man interrupted, exclaiming, “THAT is our tradition!”   (Copied).