Tradition often has a bad rap. There are two very different sides to the subject. When individuals and institutions honor and respect tradition without regards to opportunity, openness, and progress, tradition takes on the role of an untouchable, immovable, irrefutable idol. I do not know about your life, but in mine, I have far too many idols. There is no need to hold onto this one.
Alternatively, we can hold tradition with respect at the core. Tiger Woods respects and honors those who came before him; his father, great stewards of the golf game, pioneers who broke through the walls of prejudice and bigotry. Great baseball players, stock car drivers, and others, talk in awe of the pioneers and legends of their sports. Part of the process is context. Another piece is their achievements. In each case, there is the texture and color of how they played the game.
In the spring of every year, with the emergent colors, flowers, and renewal of hope, I find myself reflecting on the best tradition brings. I think of the renegades in my life, bringing new ideas, visions, and ways of approaching our journeys. I find myself looking for the context of wisdom. I find hope in those who struggled. Even God comes under review. This “God, your Redeemer, who shaped your life in your mother's womb, says: ‘I am God. I made all that is. With no help from you I spread out the skies and laid out the earth.’” (Isaiah 44.24)
Tradition is important, as a foundation and building stone. Yet, tradition is not the framework that you and I live in. You and I have the opportunity to build on the best of what was while discovering new ways of seeing beauty, exercising compassion, and living in community. You and I can work with Hope to build a better world. You and I can be on a mission with God. Everything is possible.
Today is a beautiful spring day in New York. We can make it complete with our actions. It can be our ongoing tradition.
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