Tradition & Change

I LOVE traditions. (Sometimes.) Yes, I almost forgot about dying Easter eggs, but I still have the weekend to make my kids happy.

Our family was privileged to share in a Passover Seder this year. Our gracious hostess explained to us guests why she loved growing up with this Jewish festival. I heartily agree with her reasons. It is a family affair where everyone gets involved. We all took turns reading from the Haggadah. Even Connor who happened to be the youngest was still included. He was responsible for asking the Four Questions. Thanks to some early notice and rehearsal time (captured on this video with his cheat sheets), he did great!

Everything is symbolic. It has meaning. It is sacred and yet it is familiar. It celebrates what God has done for His people. It was ordained for followers to carry out each year in order to remember always. And people have been remembering for thousands and thousands of years. How awesome is that? What is there not to love about it? (Did I mention the four glasses of wine?!) It was a lovely evening with even lovelier company.

Table set in beautiful simplicity

The beautiful table set for Passover Seder

I also LOVE change. (Sometimes.) I will not deny that it can be hard. But I can still love it in its difficulty.

This morning while flipping through the paper (yes, kids, I still read a prehistoric literal paper), I read a little article in the Albuquerque Journal on the new Pope Francis. Here it is online (same article, different news source). It told of how Pope Francis is entering his new papacy in such a strikingly different manner than those of years past. He wears a simple robe. He lives in the more austere Vatican Hotel and not the grand Apostolic Palace. On this Maundy Thursday, rather than wash priests feet in the Basilica, he went to a juvenile detention center to wash the feet of inmates.

Pope Francis washing inmates’ feet

The Catholic church has been around for centuries. It carries so much deep tradition. In many ways, that rich longevity is worthy of our respect regardless of its shortcomings and whatever personal disagreements we may have with it. This change from Francis I find so refreshing. It does not take away from the history or tradition. I would say it actually deepens it and even brings it back to its Christ-centered roots: to love and to serve.

Change does not obliterate tradition. People centuries later still honor Passover even if they do so sitting up in chairs and not truly reclining. Centuries later the Catholic church still has a Pope even if he is a bit “no-frills.” Sometimes change enhances tradition. It shows fulfillment of prophecy or returned attention to the least of these. The deep-seated roots of tradition will carry on for centuries more regardless of what inevitable changes come. And those changes that come may deepen it, may bring it back to its roots, and may make it refreshingly beautiful.

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