Stuck in a Rut: David
I wanted to add a couple things to this idea of clinging to traditions. Ferguson refers to tradition both in terms of our words and our activities. I find it amusing that churches who often consider themselves non-liturgical (not following a liturgy or specific service order rooted in tradition) and free from stuffy traditions of the past quickly manufacture their own new liturgy. Many worship leaders essentially pray the same thing using the same 10 words between songs or at certain points in the service. Over time Christians can develop their own mannerisms, way of speaking, way of using words, and ways of doing mundane things like driving. I’m not kidding. I have witnessed the affects of a church that developed their own complete sub-culture that was totally disconnected from the culture around them. And you know what? People were repelled from Christ because they felt they wouldn’t be accepted unless they started wearing a tie and using certain words in their speech.
His exhortation to make sure we aren’t clinging to meaningless tradition in our words hits home to me most in our practice of public (and private) prayer. I have prayed with brothers and sisters in Christ and many times felt like the whole thing was a meaningless puzzle of deep-sounding catch phrases picked up along the Christian way. And I catch myself doing this as well. When our prayers, preaching, or even God-talk is different from the way we speak in the rest of our lives we are giving the impression that there is a magical tradition or code of speech that gives us deeper access to the Lord. God sees and tests the heart, and prizes sincerity above supposedly eloquent words. Not to say that we shouldn’t strive for well-articulated, scriptural, and deep prayers, but let’s take heed that we aren’t simply trying to impress our fellow believers by the way be speak or act.