Monday, July 20, 2009

Holston Annual Conference and McKay's Used Books

(Since “The Call” is still reporting on Annual Conference, perhaps it’s ok for me to touch on this thought one more time…)

A popular illustration for reaching the next generation involves how we listen to music. (It must be popular… I heard it from an evangelist in April and not once, but twice at Annual Conference from two totally different speakers, from two totally different parts of the country! I think I have an idea of where the “original” came from…)

However, as the illustration goes, one is first shown what we “old folks” refer to as an “LP” record. For those who don’t know, that’s the large “albums” that played at “33 1/3” rpms on our record players. (Of course, we could mention the old “78’s” or even the “Victrolas…” if we really wanted to go “back there” but I digress…)

Next we see an “8-track” tape (which brings back loads of memories) followed by a cassette, a CD, and then an Ipod… The whole thrust of the illustration is to say that although the “message” of the Gospel doesn’t change, the “method” for sharing it does.

Many have taken this illustration to mean “out with the old, and in with the new” and if you aren’t on the cutting edge of “worship” then you’re completely missing the boat. If you’re still doing worship the “old way” then there’s no way that you can bring in young folks. Tired old traditions and rituals are out, and new innovation is in.

And while I agree with that to a certain extent, I don’t think we can “throw the baby out with the bath water!” God told Moses numerous times in the “books of the Law” to teach these traditions to the people, and to make sure that they were passed on with, yes, even the keeping of rituals. Paul even told the Thessalonians to stand firm and hold to the traditions which they were taught.

So, tradition – in and of itself – is not wrong. In fact, I think the young folks crave the “concreteness” of tradition and ritual.

The next Sunday after we came home from Annual Conference, I went to McKay’s Used Books with my daughter-in-law. I’d never been to the new warehouse before. I was amazed! To a “read-a-holic” like me, it was like taking a kid to a toy store!

Of course, if you’ve been to a McKay’s, you know that they carry much more than used books. There’s all kinds of music as well as video games and Wii games, plus a whole lot that I’m sure I missed. (The section featuring the commentaries was outstanding!)

So as we left I asked Suzanne, “I saw lots of CDs, but do they take cassettes?” (I’m “old” I tell ya!) She said, “No, but a really big thing now is vinyl. If you’ve got any old record albums that you’re willing to part with, you can get good money for them! The younger crowd seems to really appreciate how music sounds on vinyl...”

Hmmm… perhaps some traditions are worth keeping? Let’s examine our “traditions” before we just get rid of them wholesale. There are reasons some things are still around…

I believe that we must teach the rituals and traditions of the faith. They are not “dry and dusty” – they are as alive as we make them. And they still have power.

Father, lead us to remember the faith of our fathers and our mothers. Help us to combine the “old” with the “new” as You would lead us. Renew in our own hearts the reasons behind the things that we do, so that when our children ask “why do you do this” we can share what You have done in our lives.

Thank You for the precious blood of Jesus, and may we never neglect His call to “Do this in remembrance of Me…”

In His Name – Amen.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Morning Prayer

A prayer of F.B. Meyer that I have adopted for my own says, “May I be willing, to be made willing, that Thy Will should be done.”

In a time of preparation for prayer one morning the following song came to mind. Many of you know it as our churches sing it often, but many times we find that as we sing, we don’t really “listen” to the words that the Spirit would speak to us. So, this morning… listen…

These precious words are inspired by John 20:22

Breathe on me,
breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love
what Thou dost love,
And do
what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me,
breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee
I will one will,
To do
and to endure.

Breathe on me,
breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire

Breathe on me,
breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee
the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Dear Lord… what must happen in our world so that Thy Will is done – on earth, as it is in Heaven? What must happen in our churches, so that Thy Will is done – on earth, as it is in Heaven? My Father… what must happen in my life so that Thy Will is done – on earth, as it is in heaven? May I be willing, to be made willing, that Thy Holy and Perfect Will should be done in my life.
In Jesus’ Name – Amen.