I had the privilege last night, to see the opening performance of our community theatre’s presentation, of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The performance was tremendous! filled with the amazing talents of many skilled Rolla actors and singers. It was also cool getting to see one of the teens in our youth group dance while balancing a bottle on his head, and another had some mad skills with a spotlight.
The play also stirred up fond memories as I watched and sung to it, for “Fiddler” was the first play I had participated in while I was in high school. . . . The story centers around the Jewish father Tevye, who struggles to keep his traditions in 1905 Russia, as his three oldest daughters pursue marriages for love. Each marriage bending Tevye further and further from his customs. The play ending with an edict forcing Tevye, his family, and the other Jews to leave their village of Anatevka.
The overall theme of the play, is tradition. Now, traditions in themselves are not bad, and many of them began with good purposes. But as the play points out, sometimes we only follow traditions just because they are traditions, forgetting why everyone should have a hat to cover their head. When traditions out live the purpose in which they were created in the first place, are they then still needed?
Now, not all traditions should be gotten rid of just because they’re old. But, how many traditions do we still hold onto which no longer grant any benefit? How many times do unneeded traditions get in the way of change?
There needs to be balance. A balance between the new and the old. For just because something is shiny, doesn’t mean we should get rid of the chipped and rusted full of memories. However, problems arise if we never embrace change, just as problems arise if we get rid of the past for the future. There needs to be change, there needs to be growth in order to have life. If an organism is not growing, it’s dying. However, we cannot build a future, without the foundation of the past–for we continue the legacy of those who came before us.
Just because something’s a tradition, doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are many traditions that still serve us well. However, there are others that hold us back. We like them, for we’ve had them as long as we can remember. They’re familiar to us, even if we have forgotten why we have them. They’re familiar, which makes them less scary than the uncertainty of the change. Yet, we are not called to live lives of comfort. Many of the rewards of life are achieved, if we step out of our comfort zones. And contrary to popular belief, our traditions have not existed since the beginning. Therefore, each tradition once began as something new.
And Church, we are especially bad of allowing our traditions to keep us from reaching others with the Good News of Jesus, and embracing them in love. Allowing traditions of not having a kitchen or not getting rid of a bulletin board to be more important, than feeding the hungry in our community.
Tradition, tradition, tradition. . . . What traditions do you have, which still serve a purpose? . . . And what traditions do you have, that it may be time to retire them?