Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda

Today is REformation Day, the day when many people pause to remember MArtin Luther and the Wittenburg church door and the beginning of the Reformation.  (OK,many churchfolk actually mark the day on the Sunday before Oct 31 but bear with me).  Reformation Day is a time to remember that there are times in the life of the church when the church cries out to be changed.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day.  All Saints is a day to give thanks for all those who are part of the great communion who have gone before us.  It is a day to remember our ancestors -- both genetic and theological.

As a part of a grand family we have inherited much from out ancestors.  As part of a grand family we need to decide what we want to pass on to our children.  WE are part of a church that is reformed and yet is always reforming.

So what is on the horizon?  It is my conviction that the more important question is what do we want to pass on to our descendants in the faith.  What of our inheritance, our traditions still gives life?  What of our inheritance has become irrelevant or worse?  How do we honour both our ancestors and our descendants?  (You will note that I do. not believe that, in the end, it is about US)

OF course the irony is that, as a generalization, great reform movements gather under the banner of returning to some past form of purity or some great golden age.  That is not the reform that is called for in any aspect of society in the 21st century.  We move forward by moving forward, not by trying to go back.

And the ancestor-descendant question?  I personally am guided by the JAroslav Pelikan quote (taken from Wikipedia)
Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide. Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition.

We need to be people of tradition, not traditionalists.  WE also have to remember that new traditions are always being born.

No comments:

Post a Comment