I've been through many spiritual journeys as a Christian. One of them has been into a contemporary style of worship. When I first started involving myself with the contemporary worship team at my home church, I felt almost at home. The ideas behind our contemporary service really drew me in. I liked the idea that we shouldn't do things just for traditions sake and we should allow service to be a time for the spirit to move. It seemed to me then that traditional worship wasn't spirit led. What I didn't realize then, that I do now, Traditional worship practices don't really stifle the spirit.
I also played on the worship band at my church. We would occasionally play more popular hymns. When we first started doing hymns, I would get frustrated. These songs used words that I didn't understand (what the heck is an ebeneezer) and the chord progressions were usually kind of awkward. It took about a year of playing hymnals and a lot of explanation for me to understand the songs I was playing. An ebeneezer is actually a memorial, commemorating a place that God has done something. In 1 Samuel 7 God makes it possible for the Israelites to defeat the Palestinians. At the place this happens, Samuel constructs an Ebeneezer, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
Learning is a very important part of being a Christian. The moment you are saved, you don't automatically become perfect, it's a process. I didn't realize back then that tradition is a very powerful thing. The old hymns are so full of meaning and history. The lyrics are usually deeper than almost every CCM song out there. Millions of people have sung the same exact songs for hundreds of years. There is a certain connectedness to tradition that contemporary styles just don't have.
Yesterday at church we took communion. It really got me thinking about how the history of the church is connected through the sacrament. In the United Methodist Church, there is a certain way and certain words that are spoken during communion. Communion has been done the same way, for hundreds of years. Methodists have been doing the same liturgy, while breaking bread together. There is power in knowing that people have been doing the same things for years. There is power in knowing that the body of Christ crosses barriers of time. I don't just lean on my brothers and sisters in this day and age to carry my burdens, I lean on Christians throughout history.
There is power in tradition and that is why I like tradition.
What do you like/dislike about tradition?