This Week in Church: Tradition, First and Lasts, Getting Old

Welcome to the series wherein I share my take-aways from church. The things that, I think, are beneficial to all of us to know or think about, whether or not we believe in any church-related things.

I think that church can teach things that are beneficial to everyone, whether or not we believe in church-related things.

This week in church, we talked about tradition.

"Tradition is not to preserve the ashes, but to pass on the flame."
-Gustav Mahler

Stepping into a tradition can be like stepping into a stream - there is a whole history there to carry you forward. Where did that stream come from, and where is it going?

It's worth noting that when we step into the stream of a tradition, we are now a part of the whole history of that tradition: the good and the bad.

For example, the history of the Christian church in Canada includes some wonderful things, as well as racism, residential schools, and sexual assault. If you step into that stream, you now have to own all of that history, which includes repenting for and taking responsibility for things you may not have done.

This week in church, we talked about firsts and lasts.

You're never the first and you're never the last. When we go through hard things (or great things, really), we are never the first person to have that pain, that difficulty, or that suffering. We also won't be the last. This could be rather depressing, but think of it this way: you are not alone. You come from a long line of people who have grappled with these very same questions. This is a tradition that can carry you forward.

This week in church, we talked about getting old.

The things we do over and over again get written into our bodies. When we get old, those habits (traditions) will return to us. That's why people who have very little memory left can still knit for days or sing the hymns they sang every Sunday for their whole lives.

When we are ageing, what do we want to be the pathways/traditions/prayers that are written in our bodies?


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