Nov 6, 2010

The Tradition

During most of November (2010) FUMC, Arlington is looking at the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. When pondering the idea of tradition for the worship series I remembered a funny story about tradition:

During a service at a synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the people prayed the Shema, half the congregants stood and half sat. The half seated shouted at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the sitting to stand up . . . .

The rabbi didn’t know what to do. The congregation suggested consulting a homebound 98 year old man; one of the synagogue’s founders. The rabbi hoped the elderly man could tell him temple’s correct tradition. The Rabbi went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction.

The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, “Is the tradition to stand during this prayer?” The old man answered, “No that is not the tradition.” The one whose followers sat said, “Then the tradition is to sit during Shema!” The old man answered, “No that is not the tradition.”

Then the rabbi said, “But the congregants fight continually, shouting about whether they should sit or stand . . . .”

The old man interrupted: “THAT is the tradition!”

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“Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

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