Daily Devotional

Friday, July 7, 2017

New Traditions

On the first day of Unleavened Bread when the Passover lamb is sacrificed…while they were eating, [Jesus] took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’     Mark 14:12a&22b

New traditions are often difficult to accept. Tradition, by definition, is about a ritual that remains constant. In an ever-changing world that increases in complexity, and does so with alarming haste, traditions can seem as important as ever. We want things we can count on. Like turkey at Thanksgiving, fireworks on the Fourth of July, and the national anthem sung before a ballgame. When new traditions are suggested, there is often something deep within our spirit that resists them. New traditions, however, recognize that time and people and relationships do change, and those changes need to be acknowledged and affirmed. So, even though for generations unleavened bread had symbolized the food eaten by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt on the night they fled captivity, breaking the bread in front of the disciples as an expression of Jesus’ broken body bespoke a new and important reality. Bread can be a reminder of freedom from slavery as well as a way to remember Jesus’ promise of freedom from death. Keeping old traditions faithfully should not mean that new traditions aren’t embraced.

What new tradition are you reluctant to embrace?

Lord, for all the change in my life—or because of how swiftly life itself changes—I am reluctant to change or expand my traditions. I have enough “new” in my life; I want something old, reliable, and grounding. And yet, what about recognizing your promise that you will continue to do new things in my life and the world? Do I not need to recognize that reality, just as Jesus did? Lord, help me not to resist change for change’s sake . . . Help me to be open to that which is old and familiar while embracing that which is new and enlivening . . . for both are gifts from you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.