Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where does tradition end and real life begin?

Tradition. In the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" the leading character, Tevye, states during the opening, "Why without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof." Yet as the play continues he finds each tradition crumbling into nothing, and finally the entire group of Jews being forced out of their village.

Within the church today there are various traditions which have continued through time, many of which have both personal and sacred meaning. Yet there are those "traditions" which have no meaning in today's post modern world.

It's just a little more than month to the beginning of the Advent season. Which means Christmastide isn't far away. How many of us attend Advent and Christmas Eve services looking for the same things each year. The music, the story, the candlelight all help many of us enjoy the season, and bring back memories of our youth.

But for many people today, especially in this current economy, the message of Christmas while it brings hope is one that doesn't address their needs. The story of the babe in a manger doesn't put food on a table, it doesn't teach them how to either keep their job or find a new one, it doesn't make them a better parent or spouse, it doesn't find them someone who can share their life. In short, it doesn't come close to presenting what the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to do with their real life.

So my question today is this: How do we, the Church, reach out to folks in need? Especially as we approach this special time of year. Do we just close out eyes, do the same old things in the name of "tradition," or do we finally step out and BE the Church to a world that's hurting, lost, and confused.

Perhaps this Christmas Eve we should do something different. Thoughts?