"But that is the way that we have always done it.”
Ever heard this phrase before? It’s often heard in opposition to something new, or a new way of doing things. I admit I have said it, or at least thought it from time to time.
Henry Ford said “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Unfortunately, the Church is declining, which means what we are “doing” isn’t working. This presents us with a choice. Do we continue to do what we have always done, and get what we have always got? or, Do we try something new?
Jesus was the most radical teacher of all time. He constantly pushed the boundaries by doing things like touching the untouchables, speaking to women, healing on the Sabbath and teaching about a new way, a new reality, a new kingdom. One based not on what you have to do, but on who you are and how you respond to Him.
In Matthew 9:16-17 Jesus responds to some Pharisees who were upset about how His disciples were not fasting at the “traditionally correct” time;
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Just like the old wine skin and the unshrunk cloth cannot handle the new wine or the patch, so the old ways of doing things are not appropriate for the new thing that He was bringing.
I wonder if there are “traditions” that we hold on to in church, that were fully appropriate and effective in the past, but are no longer working or even appropriate in this day and age?