“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.”
- Matthew 15:8-9
The Christian faith is full of great traditions. There is a history, a sense of community, and a beauty of honouring God in the rituals that we practice through our church, through our services, and through the way we worship and celebrate Christ. These traditions can be a guide to us in how we practice our faith, and they can be a comfort to us by giving us familiar steps to follow. Traditions give us peace and unite us.
Yet, it is important to recognize how these traditions have come to be. Respecting these traditions is important, yes, but they are meaningless if we do not understand the purpose behind them. If we are so focused on the traditions that have been developed, instead of obeying the Word of God, then we are missing the point entirely.
In this passage, Pharisees and teachers criticize the disciples for not following the tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to try to teach the importance of following the commandment of God, and to know that what is coming from our mouths and our hearts is far more important than being concerned regarding the things we eat for the sake of following traditions. We do not follow traditions for the sake of serving traditions. Instead, let what you speak and what you do worship God. Let your actions obey what God commands rather than mindlessly performing rituals and traditions without the right intention.
Reflection: What Christian traditions do you follow? How has your approach been when performing these traditions? Are they to serve you or to serve God? How can you better align your actions and words to obey God more?
Thank you, Karyn Lau, for this thoughtful article on Christian traditions for Calm Christian Music. In all your traditions of worship, connect to God's love as you listen to Christian instrumental music, devotional music, Christian hymns and choirs, and Bible audiobooks. Read about the benefits of relaxing music on your nervous system as you enjoy your music.