As I read today’s Bible reading in Mark 7, one word stood out in glaring clarity: tradition. And instantly, I heard Tevye singing the song from Fiddler on the Roof.
I can almost hear the First Century Jewish Leaders arguing with Jesus about their traditions. They express their frustration that Jesus’ disciples aren’t upholding the Jewish traditions that have been handed down through the centuries. And then Jesus exposes their hypocrisy, as he frequently does.
Jesus never says that He has a problem with traditions.
What Jesus does have a problem with is traditionalism.
Traditions can help preserve history. Traditions can help preserve memories. Traditions can honor the past. Traditions can help to preserve culture.
But traditionalism makes idols out of traditions. Traditionalism can pervert traditions. And that’s exactly what Jesus points out in today’s Bible reading.
What about you? What traditions do you have? Do those traditions bring honor to something/someone, or do they cheapen the very things that are supposed to be honored?
Celebrate traditions. But don’t turn them into idols.