Daily Readings and Thought for August 29th “GOOD AND BAD TRADITIONS”
The word “tradition” can arouse a negative attitude in our minds because of the way Jesus condemns the religious leaders in the Gospels for their traditions; he told them “you leave the commandment of God and hold the tradition of men” [Mark 7 v.8] The word “tradition” is sometimes translated simply as “teaching” in modern versions. The origin of the teaching is all important, was it ordained by God?
In our Corinthians chapter (11) today Paul tells them, “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions (or teachings) even as I delivered them to you.” [v.2]. There are “traditions” that are essential for us to keep. Today’s chapter highlights the need to observe what is referred to as “the Lord’s Supper” or “breaking of bread” (v.23-32).
Paul quotes how he “received from the Lord what I delivered to you” [v.23] He quotes the words of Jesus about the bread and the cup: we note his words, “Do this in remembrance of me … for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he come” [v.24,26]
It is sad how some have tried to add things he did not say! There is no reference here as to whether the bread should be leavened or unleavened, or whether it should be done on one particular day of the week, or time of the year! To begin with it took place on a daily basis (Acts 2 v.46); this is understandable as so intense would have been the feeling of utter commitment among those baptised into Christ’s name at Pentecost.
The earlier part of our chapter addresses other principles, “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” [v.3] This is the order of responsibility before God, a reason why Jesus chose 12 men to be his principle disciples. It is the reason why a woman should have a head covering, but a man should not.(v.4-7)
There were factions in Corinth and Paul makes a pertinent comment (v.19), “for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognised” Those who do not accept, or who are not satisfied with the genuine “traditions” established by Jesus and his chosen disciples are those who go beyond this and move out from the congregations established by the apostles.
This is the comment John makes in his epistle, “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” [1 John 2 v.19] Today this is more evident than ever – as there is less dedicated reading and following of God’s word and ‘bad traditions’ have developed.