To the young and uninitiated, traditions represent a mixed blessing. They can be fun, memory invoking, and heart warming. They can also be boring, repetitive, and filled with stress, guilt, and angst. Whatever they are for you, I find myself reflecting on the freedom you and I hold to take the best from traditions while ignoring the balance. Our freedom spans far more than just holidays. We can embrace the best of those before us in ways they never imagined! We can honor tradition without being held hostage. We can learn from tradition without being subservient. We can be inclusive and forward thinking across every step in our journey.
We enjoy a freedom that comes at a heavy price. Others are being called today to struggle with the same equation. Am I willing to sacrifice my life, even living, for the principles I believe in? There are far too many examples across the world of individuals that are currently paying this price. Am I willing to expose myself for the causes of justice, compassion, and freedom? Am I willing to embrace the truth of my parents with integrity? Examples of blindness and enlightenment are here for our education.
Tradition is not always convenient. When “Jacob died, and our fathers after him. They were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb for which Abraham paid a good price to the sons of Hamor.” (Acts 7.15, 16) The journey was long and it was costly. It was also a model that we would do well to understand.
For many Americans today is one of tradition. It is also an opportunity we can embrace. The opportunity exists, regardless of our background, heritage, and political views. Divinity gifted you and me with unconditional freedom. Exercising this freedom is our response to the opportunity, challenge, and call.
Today comes with a barrage of demands, pressure, and opportunities. Exercising God's freedom gift is a unique opportunity that rests within our souls. It is an opportunity to walk a path we share with God. It is our God given right and responsibility.
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